2006 Issues

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    Volume 10 | Number 1 | January/February 2006




    Whenever and wherever we run and race, we do so alone, no matter whether we’re on a run with friends or surrounded by 30,000 strangers at a big-city marathon event.

    Our run is done within and without ourselves. It is generated by us and us alone and we are wholly and totally responsible for it. It is unlike most other sports or social activities in that to do it at all, there must first be a communion with ourselves. The activity begins there, and it ends there. Although there is a lot of latitude regarding with whom we run, we ultimately run alone, because nobody else can run for us. Nobody else can carry us through a run or a race, although others can certainly assist us at nearly every turn, from getting out the door in the first place to offering psychic energizing along the way-a process that borders on the supernatural.

    Because distance running is a sport and a lifestyle in which we ultimately do it alone while allowed to have as much company as we can stand, it holds a special place among human activities but demands a special kind of commitment from the person pursuing it.

    In many sports and human activities, a person’s shortcomings can be at least partially covered by friends and teammates.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    On the Road with Don Kardong

    As Times Go By

    George Sheehan watched times change, quickly and mostly for the better. The physician-author, whose first book (and best one, I think) begins a rerun in this issue, started running when watches still had hands. He finished when runners wore minicomputers on their wrists.

    George called the digital wrist stopwatch “running’s greatest invention”—not one of the greatest but number one. This watch gave runners instant and accurate results. It gave birth to the most important result: the personal record. Not many decades ago, the reports on running events didn’t list anyone’s time but the winner’s. The only time of lasting value was the course record holder’s.

    Place, not time, was the measure of success. Which meant that very few runners could feel successful. Which meant that very few ran races at all.

    Some of us tried to time ourselves, but these efforts were guesstimates at best. Longtime Michigan Runner columnist Scott Hubbard recalls his runs in the 1970s, “when watches had analog faces, weren’t very water resistant, and fell apart too soon.” He rarely wore one.

    Instead, “I’d glance at a wall clock on my way out the door and again on the way in to time myself.” Or if driving to a run, he would use the car clock. “Subtraction yielded my running time, unless I couldn’t remember when I started.” I practiced a common predigital trick of runners. That was to set the watch’s hands at “12“ to start. Sometimes a passerby would ask, “Can you tell me what time it is?” I would shrug, leaving the questioner to wonder why someone would wear a watch he couldn’t read.

    Running self-timing was an inexact act back then. Forget seconds and fractions thereof; you could misread a time by a minute or more.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    Lac Brome 80K

    Diane Palmason

    KNOWLTON, QUEBEC, CANADA, October 30, 1980—This day was my older son’s 16th birthday. I’ll never forget it. Craig won’t let me.

    On that date he spent more than seven and a half hours on a bicycle accompanying me as I ran four loops around a small lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships to complete the Lac Brome 80K. It was my first-and last-official1 ultra (to date). I learned a lot that day.

    By October 1980, I had learned quite a bit about running the standard marathon distance. I had made my first journey over the distance—in fact, my first road race of any distance—in the National Capital Marathon (NCM) in Ottawa, Ontario, in May 1976. That run had taken me three hours and 54 minutes. As I was recovering and deciding that it had not been as painful as I had feared, I was approached by Eleanor Thomas, the winner of the women’s race. She invited me to join the National Capital Runners Association (NCRA), participate in its training runs and monthly time trials, and then join the group on a planned excursion to run another marathon that fall. Thirty minutes after having completed my first marathon, I already had a second one on my calendar. Maybe I had found a new pastime.

    It was that second run, the Skylon Marathon, that removed any doubt. This time it took me 3:22, well under Boston’s 3:30 qualifying time for women in those days. More important, I had placed. (Remember that this was 1976.) I was called up to the stage and given what looked, and still looks, to me, like a small silver ashtray. However, it was engraved “Buffalo to Niagara Skylon International Marathon 1976-Women-5th.” At 38 years of age, the mother of four, I had won an award for running! I was hooked.

    continued in our Jan/Feb issue…

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    Bataan March Memorial Marathon

    A Race in Memory of Men Who Personified “Endurance.”

    Imagine, or better yet for many of you, remember standing in the crowd at the start area of the Boston, New York, Chicago, or Rock ’n’ Roll marathons. You nervously await the beginning of the challenge for which you have trained weeks and months. The crowd is huge and close. Sights, sounds, and smells inundate you. A sea of heads and shoulders is around you. The only legs you see are your own and the nearest dozen or so of your neighbors. A general buzz and babble with unintelligible bullhorn announcements or snatches of music hit your ears.

    And the smells that surround you: lots of assorted ointments, perfume, after-shave, deodorant, nervous body odor, and-if you are near the chemical toilets-a mix of pungent sweet and earthy smells wafts into your nostrils and adds to the ambiance of the event. The sound you have eagerly anticipated, the starting gun, is heard. You joyfully shuffle off with the masses, looking forward to a thinning when you can stretch your legs out, free from the half-step gait of the crowd.

    One of the more unique marathons in North America. Only in our Jan/Feb issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: Going Long. What is the longest practical training run that someone training for a marathon should take? What I mean is, is there a point where a long training run begins to creep into being counterproductive?

    Our experts answer this question in our Jan/Feb issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s authors are Jeff Horowitz, Guy Avery, Paul and Elaine Reese, Steve Prudhomme, and
    Bill Pierce.


    There and Back

    Adventures in South Africa’s Two Oceans Marathon.

    Jeff Horowitz

    I sat in the dark theater, gazing up at the image on the screen. It was of a man pumping his arms rhythmically as he ran over brown, unpaved earth. The man was Haile Gebrselassie, the great Ethiopian middle-distance runner, and the movie was Endurance, the film that chronicled his rise from poverty in Ethiopia to Olympic gold in Atlanta. The opening scene was of Gebrselassie on a training run, covering the African countryside with long, powerful strides, gliding over rocks and hills, with no display of effort. He looked like a running god, and the land looked primeval. This, to me, was Africa.

    Scientists now tell us that we are biologically predisposed to run. We live on a planet that seems itself predisposed to be run upon, crisscrossed with a complex network of running trails, interrupted here and there by mountains and oceans. Some trails are paved and measured, most are not. Some haven’t even been discovered yet. The scenery might change, but the effort of running makes everything familiar. There is no place in the world that feels truly foreign to a runner in motion.

    I knew this all to be true. Why, then, did the thought of Africa seem so strange to me? Held in my hand like a puzzle, turned end over end and inspected, the continent was a mystery. It seemed a mythical land, full of large animals roaming free, expansive grasslands, and superhuman runners like Gebrselassie. But it was also a land of war, oppression, corruption, and disease-great beauty sitting beside great hardship, in a place unlike any I had ever visited. Try as I might, I couldn’t imagine running there. It was a gap in my theory of the world, a place where my running shoes would not feel at home. Clearly, something had to be done about this. I went online and signed up for the Two Oceans Marathon and booked a trip to South Africa. One way or the other, I was going to sort this out.

    Continued in our January/February issue… .

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    Seasonal Half-Marathon Training That Will Improve Your Marathon Performance

    Once your program is in place, there are numerous other considerations toward tweaking your results.

    Guy Avery

    In the previous two parts of this three-part series on the half-marathon, we have reviewed (a) how to set a meaningful and realistic half-marathon goal, (b) how to select an appropriate training level based on your goal, training history, and lifestyle commitments, (c) how to perform each suggested type of training optimally for the greatest benefit, and (d) how to pattern your half-marathon training schedule to fit your life patterns.

    In this third part, we will review 10 key concepts in better detail and for greater clarity. These concepts include (1) your intention and attitude; (2) listening to your body-mind feedback; (3) the most important training sessions; (4) adjusting or adapting your schedule where, when, and if needed; (5) assimilating the training fully and addressing areas that may need improvement; (6) factors affecting your realistic half-marathon goal pace; (7) specifics on the intricacies of goal-pace runs and hill sessions; (8) when and how to perform our special goal-pace cutdowns in training and on race day; (9) how to taper, sharpen, and be ready to get the most from your current fitness level on race day; and (10) how to extend your schedule for an additional half-marathon race and/or smoothly transition back into marathon training.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue. Part 3 of Avery’s popular half-marathon training series.

    Running As Armor

    A fit lifestyle serves to modulate the aging process.

    Dr. Walter Bortz, II

    Among all those self-images you have developed over your years on the roads and trails, I am sure that you have never once identified yourself as enclosed in a sturdy suit of armor. Not once have you seen yourself cresting a rise or on a long straightaway wearing an impregnable coat of boilerplate with helmet and visor securely fixed. You have never seen yourself in this costume, but the image is not fantasy, it is real. You, the runner, put in your miles within an invisible protective casing that serves to shield you from all manner of life’s assaults. You move in your own fortress with secure defenses on all sides. Life’s slings and arrows fall harmlessly. At the end of the day you, the runner, are likely to be the last warrior standing.

    All of us running enthusiasts seek new metaphors to explain why we are so committed to our active lifestyle. As a physician and geriatrician proud of my running habit-a marathon a year for 35 years-I propose to you the suggestion that the image of " running as armor" is not so far-fetched as it might at first appear. Running builds your mettle; it girds your whole being in a battlement that displays your grit. It provides protective layers of the right stuff.

    Two years ago, an old 50-foot oak limb in our yard broke off. A neighbor alerted me to this event. There it was on its new perch jammed among lower branches 15 feet off the ground. Firewood!

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue, and online.

    Where Have All the Sumos Gone?

    The loneliness of the long-distance runner? Not on weekend mornings.

    Scott Young

    A few minutes before 7:00 A.M. every Saturday, a group of a dozen or so runners congregates beneath the carvings of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. In the shadow of the world’s largest hunk of granite, at Stone Mountain, Georgia, the runners slowly set out precisely at 7:00. Not at 6:59, not at 7:01. These are the Stone Mountain Sumos, and from 1982 to 1987, I ran with them.

    For 25 years, the Sumos have trudged out in all sorts of weather, usually heading out of the Stone Mountain Park to Ponce de Leon Avenue. The rare times they veered from this direction, they ran up the Fish Pond Hill on the other side of Stone Mountain.

    The name came from a chance remark. One of the guys observed, “We look more like a bunch of Sumos than we look like runners!” The name stuck. All of the Sumos were male, though later a few Summettes would break the sex barrier. I was 32 when introduced to the Sumos by Jim Meehan, a friend from another running group, the speed workout group coached by Lee Fidler, a road racing speedster who took 11th at Boston in 1975 (2:16:51) and 14th in 1978 (2:16:14).

    It was convenient to go to the mountain, 10 minutes from where I lived, while working on my doctorate at Georgia State University. I was the youngest and usually the fastest Sumo. Most of the Sumos were already in their 40s with kids approaching college. Not one of them was born in Georgia, hailing instead from the Midwest, East, Florida, and Kentucky.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Numbers Matter!

    It never hurts to keep your mind open to a few numbered omens.

    Steve Wearne

    It really hit home when I read Dick Beardsley’s article in M&B about the number omen (see volume 6, issue 1). I had gone through the same type of experience about eight years ago.

    Training for a fall marathon, I was feeling great! A week before the race, I went down to Madison, Wisconsin, to run in the Race for the Ages 10K. We started according to age, with the oldest starting first. It’s great to watch the easy pace at such an event. Some of the early starters expect to be passed by a lot of runners; some of them plan on holding on for a great finish.

    There were a few real speedsters starting behind me. Not far enough behind! Bev Lampe was one of the first starters, and she was calling out positions as faster runners passed her. Bev has placed in her age group at Boston. When I passed her, she let me know I was in third. Dave Allen had already passed me as a minute’s advantage over him did little good. Just before the finish, another youngster came by, so I had fourth.

    At the race, I had heard about a University of Wisconsin race at the library, craftily called the Library Run. It had been delayed for some reason and was to start in a couple of hours. Why not run two races in one day?

    At the library mall, I met my daughter, Katherine; she was a student, and several of her friends had decided to run the race. When I told them I had come in fourth earlier that day, they kind of did a “Yeah, sure,” not believing me for some reason.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

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    Paul Reese’s Run Across the USA

    High-quality time on the road can be the ultimate bonding.

    Paul & Elaine Reese

    Editor’s Note: For the last half-dozen years, legendary runner Paul Reese has graced the pages of the January/February issue of this magazine with a lengthy feature article. Several were on his efforts to run across every state in the United States. Some were ruminations on the effects of aging on running. Others reflected Paul’s upbeat attitude toward life in general and the running life in particular. Unfortunately, Paul died on November 4, 2004, of complications in the wake of heart surgery. He was 87 years old. We weren’t about to let him get out of the obligation to write his annual story for our January/February issue, though, especially since to us Paul is still very much alive. So we asked Paul’s wife and life companion to write a story about their trip across the country and to pick a couple of chapters from Paul’s next book so we could keep his spirit alive for our readers at least one more year. She was agreeable. This is her story—and Paul’s. They were that kind of a team.

    Sometimes when we reminisce, I’m not sure we were on the same trip, I saw things so differently.

    You’ve probably already read some of how it was for Paul. I’ll tell you how it was for me. Many times the first question I get from folks is: “Wasn’t it boring? How on earth did you find something to do all day?” Well, just let me tell you!

    Before we left on our trip, I made the decision to keep the motor home as close as possible to a real home rather than a “camping-out” home. This meant sheets, blankets, real dishes, pots and pans, and baking ingredients. I packed our 21-foot motor home full. Plastic bags of flour, sugar, and spices were stored under the built-in double bed. I had another large cupboard, which I crammed full of all kinds of canned goods and other items needed for cooking. We had a nice little refrigerator that ran on propane as well as electricity, so I kept the fridge full, too. I mention the propane, in that electricity was seldom available and we didn’t have a generator to make our own.

    You need to understand how I perceived my role in all this. I felt that providing a comfortable home and nourishing food-all part of a total pit-crew service that also included taking on all the worrying about motor-home maintenance, gasoline, water, mailboxes, garbage, dump stations, grocery shopping, and map reading-would help Paul direct all his strength into completing his run.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue. Don’t miss this sweet tale of life on the road with Paul and Elaine.

    Run to the Temple of Doom

    A solo attempt at a first ultra borders on madness. Part 1.

    Joanne Lane

    Not everyone can be an Indiana Jones when running in Australia. But in the Indian Himalayas, it is possible every day. Here the intrepid athletes must overcome the short-breath effect of high altitude, be constantly alert for local buses that swing rapidly around blind hairpin bends, and watch their footing as they cross landslides brought down by earthquakes. They must also avoid forest fires and be sure not to lose their concentration as they gaze at the beautiful snowcapped Himalayas, as one false step can mean certain death on the steep mountain trails. Not only are there these natural elements to deal with, but everywhere there is a hint of religious forces at work. Yes, running in the Himalayas is exhilarating, exciting-and dangerous.

    Australian marathoner Peter Lane took on the challenge of the highest mountain range in the world while living in the hill station Mussoorie in north India for six months. His daughter, Joanne Lane, reports on his experiences.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue. You’ll enjoy the story of Peter’s adventures.

    You’re As Ready As You’re Gonna Be

    For running your first, second, or 10th marathon.

    “Mad Dog Mike” Schreiber

    You are four weeks from your marathon. Egad. Isn’t this exciting! Depending on what level you began and what training program you are using, you have been wearing out your training flats for from six months to two years, and it’s finally about to pay off.

    Since you have been following all the rules and cautions (see Marathon & Beyond, September/October 2003: “A Classic First Marathon Training Program,” by yours truly), you are fit, strong, full of energy, and both pain- and injury-free, but nonetheless a little bit scared.

    It is Sunday, and you are about to run your penultimate long morning run. You will eat absolutely nothing before running or during the workout, though you may drink coffee (if you drink coffee). That is, you drink the coffee an hour or so before going out, not during the run, or you may burn your lips. This semifinal long run should be 18 to 20 miles or three hours (whichever is less).

    When you run long in preparation for a marathon, there is a point of diminishing returns. Beyond about 20 miles (32.3K) or three hours, the run takes more out of you than it gives back in positive training effect. If any of you Type A personalities feel that 20 miles isn’t far enough, just run the final three miles faster—it will then seem plenty long.

    During this long run, drink water if you normally drink during a training run, but don’t switch to a (diluted) sports drink until after the 10-mile mark. By this time, your body will have slipped into the fat-metabolism mode, and the small amount of carbohydrates in the sports drink will aid in fat combustion rather than preventing or delaying the process.

    Immediately after the long run, ice your legs. Then, as soon as possible, take a 20-minute cold (not warm or hot) bath or shower. This cold soak will greatly speed recovery. On the other hand, a warm or hot bath (or hot tub) will slow recovery and may cause further muscular damage due to an increase in intercellular pressure.

    While you are sitting in the cold bath, drinking a hot toddy, is a good time to dream about the race. It is natural to be a little nervous but never negative. All your thoughts should be at least 110 percent positive, and why not? You’ve trained hard; you’re fit and uninjured. The marathon is a done deal. Now, all you have to do is run it. But first you run it in your mind.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Running Fast for the Long Run

    If you make it intense enough, less is more.

    Bill Pierce

    In the October 2003 issue of Runner’s World, Amby Burfoot included a profile of my training in his article “Boost Your Endurance.” I received numerous queries from runners who were intrigued with my low-mileage, high-intensity training regimen, asking for details. Why do I train that way? Why does it work for me, relatively speaking, and for whom might it be a reasonable training approach? Let me explain, but some personal history first.

    My competitive running began 40 years ago in junior high school and continued through high school and college, primarily as a means for basketball conditioning. There were occasional races, but the training was neither consistent nor sustained for any meaningful length of time. After my competitive basketball playing came to an end, I needed a replacement sport. Road racing has filled that role for the past 30 years.

    My first race was a 10K, my second a 20K, and my third a marathon.

    I was never tempted to go farther, but I was curious to see whether I could go faster. Like most marathoners, I quickly focused on qualifying for Boston, which then required a sub-3:00 finishing time. Soon after I qualified and ran Boston for the first time in 1978, the qualifying time dropped to sub-2:50.

    Using a Runner’s World marathon training program, my older brother, Don, who had never run a marathon, and I began following the six-days-per-week training program that totaled a weekly 55 miles of training: three five-mile runs, two 10-mile runs, and a 20-mile run.

    In 1979, at the Marine Corps Marathon, we succeeded in running under the new Boston standard when we were at the ages of 29 and 32.

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

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    The Russians Are Coming; the Russians Have Come

    Year in and year out, Russians make their mark at major marathons.

    Alexander “Sasha” Pachev

    The Kenyans frequently dominate road races on American soil. Things have gotten to the point where some U.S. races have a special American-only prize category. Many articles have been published speculating about some special genetic advantage that the Kenyans and other African runners might have. We often are led to believe that a non-African runner cannot win.

    The results of both the men’s and the women’s Olympic marathons in Athens challenge this misconception of inferiority. And so does the consistent success of the runners from the former USSR on American roads.

    It is not uncommon to encounter a name of Russian, Ukrainian, or Belarussian origin, frequently difficult to pronounce for an English speaker, in the top-10-finishers list of a major marathon. For example, let us take a look at 2004. In the Boston Marathon, we see Fyodor Ryzhov taking ninth in the men’s race and Lyubov Denisova (sixth), Victoria Klimina (eighth), and Ramila Burangulova (ninth) in the women’s race. In the Chicago Marathon, Svetlana Zakharova finished third and Albina Ivanova fifth in the women’s. In the Los Angeles Marathon, we see Tatyana Pozdnyakova (first), Tatyana Titova (second), Lioudmila Kortchaguina (sixth), and Silvia Skvortsova (seventh) in the women’s race.

    In the Austin Freescale Marathon, we see Mykola Antonenko in second and Dmitry Sivou in fourth in the men’s race. In the women’s race, Tatiana Borisova won, with Ramila Burangulova second overall, winning the masters, and Rimma Dubovik fifth overall. In the Grandma’s Marathon, Vladimir Tsiamchyk won with Pavel Andreyev third, Andrey Gordeyev fifth, and Fyodor Ryzhov sixth in the men’s race. In the women’s race, well, the Grandma’s announcer at the awards ceremony had better take some Russian pronunciation lessons: Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova won with Svetlana Demidenko third, Svetlana Shepeleva fourth, Galina Karnatsevich fifth, Yelena Makolava sixth, Victoria Zueva seventh, and Larissa Zousko eighth. In the inaugural Salt Lake City Marathon with a prize purse of over $100,000, Lioudmila Kortchaguina won the women’s title with Irina Bogacheva second overall and winning the masters and Rimma Dubovik fifth overall and second master. Aleksey Khokhlov finished ninth for the men, and Gennady Temnikov won the masters, finishing 11th overall.

    A fantasic piece on Russian marathoners. Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    End Run

    What could turn a former football player into a sub-3:00 marathoner? How about a Burger King chicken sandwich—with fries.

    Stephen Prudhomme

    Isaiah Douglas lives for running. He has competed in 20 marathons, including 11 Bostons, and hundreds of shorter events. Six days a week, usually during the evening hours, he runs around a small man-made lake in Savannah, Georgia, with a tireless gait and ready smile.

    Eighteen years ago, Douglas had little to smile about. Without a job, he didn’t have money to buy food. Running was the furthest thing from his mind, something he had a natural talent for but had grown to hate through the wind sprints he had done as a member of his high school football team. In the half-dozen or so years since he had graduated from high school, Douglas hadn’t done any running, and he didn’t rue the loss one bit.

    Out of those difficult times running emerged as Douglas’s unlikely savior, his meal ticket, both literally and figuratively.

    Douglas, 44, is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. He is married and has one daughter, age 15. His occupation is heavy equipment operator. In his spare time, Douglas moves a different type of heavy equipment. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he is a giant in the marathon world, where men nearly a foot shorter and nearly 100 pounds lighter dominate the sport. Douglas is not an elite marathoner, but he is better than most. He has run eight sub-three-hour marathons and has a personal best of 2:46.

    “I’m a little bit of a role model for the big guy,” Douglas says. “People say they don’t see how a big guy like me can run like I do. I look at smaller runners … I’m sure it would help being 15 to 20 pounds lighter. I enjoy it, though.”

    Enjoyment is not a word Douglas would have used in connection with running during his early years. He played soccer, softball, and football while growing up, recalling that he did well in all of them. By the time he got to high school, Douglas concentrated solely on football, encouraged by other athletes to focus on just one sport. “There was something about football,” says Douglas, who was a tight end and describes himself as a pretty good player. “It was my love.”

    Continued in our Jan/Feb issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan On Running

    What we do must be fun and impractical and useless, Or else we won’t do it. Play is the key.

    Dr. George Sheehan

    Here is Joe Henderson’s introduction to our new Book Bonus:

    Dr. George Sheehan beat his own doctors’ time-left forecasts by many years, but his end finally came in late 1993. Soon afterward, a favorite race of his was renamed and moved to his old training course.

    The next summer I walked to the start of the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank, New Jersey. A young runner ahead of me turned to another and said, “This is a cool race. But who is this Sheehan guy, anyway?”

    He said “She-han,” not the proper “She-un.” At that time and place, this was like asking who that Kennedy was with his name on a New York City airport.

    Every runner should have known George Sheehan then—or so his friends and fans liked to think, though he himself knew better.

    George would have loved telling this story on himself. Others built up his bigger-than-life legend, and he sometimes felt the need to knock it down to size.

    The two of us once walked away from the adulation that always greeted him at the Boston Marathon. He shook his head in amazement, then added, “Two blocks from here I’m just another skinny old Irishman.”

    For all the fame heaped on him in his later years, he didn’t take all of this too seriously. Being famous was a phase that started in his late 50s, when the practices of his lifetime were pretty well set and wouldn’t change much the rest of his days.

    As long as I knew him, which was 25 years, he wore the same blue(jeans)-on-blue(shirt and sweater) uniform while greeting crowds of runners. He drove the same little well-used cars, VWs and Hondas, that doubled as his mobile locker room.

    He spoke and wrote his last words in 1993, which means that many of today’s runners can be excused for asking: who’s this George Sheehan, and why is Marathon & Beyond reprinting his old book?

    Many of you came into the sport after George left. You never had the pleasure of hearing, reading, or knowing him in life.

    But it isn’t too late to get acquainted with a figure who once stood taller than anyone in this sport. (Put John “Penguin” Bingham on Jeff Galloway’s shoulders and you get an idea of George Sheehan’s stature at his peak.) No one to come along since has given better speeches to runners or written finer literature on running.

    George was an accidental author. He wasn’t trained as a writer and had practiced medicine for half his life before publishing his first article at age 50. His medical career was winding down when he wrote his first book seven years later.

    By then he had settled into his distinctive style of writing: personal, philosophical, and padded with quotes from great thinkers from outside of sports. The Sheehan style would come to be widely mimicked (and occasionally satirized) but never matched.

    The first book, Dr. Sheehan On Running, sold well among his Runner’s World readers, but the wider world wasn’t yet ready to buy running books. That would happen soon.

    During one amazing month of 1978, three different books for runners ranked among the top 10 in national sales-for all topics. Each book took a different look at the sport.

    Jim Fixx’s Complete Book of Running profiled people who ran and what it meant to them. Bob Glover and Jack Shepherd’s Runner’s Handbook advised how to run. George Sheehan’s Running & Being examined why he, and we, ran.

    George’s book, along with his previous and later ones, gave voice to what other runners thought but couldn’t express. They embraced him for this for the rest of his life and beyond. They loved him all the more as he wrote as openly about his final test as he had about other subjects.

    In 1986, George was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had spread into his bones. His doctors told him to hope for another year but to plan for less.

    He lived seven more years—good years, mostly. He wrote three more books during that illness (finishing the last, Going the Distance, in his final week), published dozens of newspaper and magazine columns, and spoke at hundreds of races (running them as long as he was able, including the 1989 World Masters Championships). His end came just days shy of his 75th birthday.

    Who was George Sheehan? The best way to introduce yourself to him now, or to renew acquaintances, is to read one of his books. You can still find copies without looking too far. (The family Web site, www.georgesheehan.com, offers his bestselling Running & Being plus reprints of many columns.)

    I worked with George on all but one of his books. He never once, in almost two decades of writing them, named one as his favorite.

    “These books are my babies,” he said. “I could no more single out one than say which of my own children I like best.” His kids outnumbered his books, 12 to seven.

    Readers must decide which book they like best. Once you read this reprint of his first one, Dr. Sheehan On Running, you’ll want to find others. Once you’ve read him, you’ll know him and won’t forget him.

    Dr. Sheehan’s entire book will be printed (in serial format) in M&B over the next several issues.

    I think I’ll give M&B a try. How can I subscribe?

    Volume 10 | Number 2 | March/April 2006



    To Race

    There are runners who have run for years and have yet to pin on a number and race against their peers along a timed and measured course. Those who do race on a regular basis look at these people and shake their heads, wondering what is the point of regularly putting in all of those miles and then not putting them to good use in a contest of speed.

    They construct various analogies: It’s like dating your whole life and never getting married. It’s like writing two-thirds of a novel and then putting it in a drawer. It’s like buying a hot sports car and locking it in the garage. It’s like working your way through college and then skipping the senior prom and graduation ceremonies. It’s like . . .

    What their critics don’t understand is that for some, running on a regular basis is an end in and of itself. It lessens daily workplace or family stress. It maintains healthy body weight. It confers a level of fitness. It controls blood pressure. It bestows a bandoleer of health and fitness benefits.

    After all, this is the modern world. We no longer run from saber-toothed tigers or chase down our next meal in order to survive. We can run merely to run-for the simple, elemental joy of it. And by that evolution to the modern, more laid-back era, we’ve clawed our way out of Hemingway’s definition of sport. To Hemingway, there were only three sports: mountain climbing, bullfighting, and auto racing; everything else was a game, he contended, because there was little chance of losing your life in the process. No saber-toothed tigers, no “sport” to running.

    Continued in our Mar/Apr issue.

    Guest Editorial

    A Modest Proposal for Selecting the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team for 2008 and Beyond

    Alfred F. Morris, Ph.D., FACSM

    Since 1968, the United States has selected its Olympic marathon team by taking the top three finishers in the Trials marathon if they meet the International Olympic Committee’s qualifying standards. In 1968, the Trials were held at Alamosa, Colorado, to pick a team to race in Mexico City. The top three finishers were George Young, Kenny Moore, and Ron Daws.

    Prior to 1968, the American marathon team was picked by a committee of selectors who relied heavily on performances at Boston and Yonkers (at that time the U.S. Marathon Championship), hence the parallel of names in the Boston/Yonkers win columns and the U.S. Olympic teams: Clarence DeMar, “Tarzan” Brown, John A. Kelley, John J. Kelley, and others.

    As we are into a new century, it may be time to make a major change in how we pick our Olympic marathoners. We are currently in the lengthy process of selecting a marathon team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

    Let’s beseech the USATF LDR (Long-Distance Running) Committee (the group commissioned to set criteria for selecting our team) to think creatively to put together the best possible team to represent us in Beijing, to maximize publicity for the members of that team, and to create a structure that will work effectively through the rest of this century.

    It is not impossible to be brave, adventuresome, creative, and practical in selecting our best marathoners to represent us. To improve the process, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. We can customize for the United States a system based on how other countries select their teams.

    Many of the top marathon teams selected by other countries for the Olympic Games and the World Championship marathons use a panel of selectors. Among countries that use a panel of selectors are Japan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Russia, Italy, Spain, and France. Several of these countries don’t even host Trials marathons in their own countries to gauge athletic fitness. For instance, Kenya bases its picks on athletic performances at the Boston Marathon in Olympic years.

    On the Road with Joe Henderson

    Talking the Walk

    A student of mine refuses to walk. That isn’t unusual. Many runners think they’re cheating or failing if they ever stop to walk during a run.

    But one student takes this phobia further. She runs the recoveries during interval training and runs to cool down, when everyone else walks. She hasn’t yet noticed that walking speeds up the recovery.

    A runner on my Marathon Team made one of her goals in the race “not to walk a step.” She didn’t succeed that way and as a result couldn’t give herself full credit for a PR. She didn’t notice that most of the runners around did some walking, if only through the drink stations.

    That student reminds me of myself at her age, not yet 20. That marathoner reflects myself at that stage of her marathon life, early and with more PRs to come.

    Back then, I, too, never walked by choice. I not only ran my interval recoveries and grabbed drinks on the run, but I also avoided walking anywhere, anytime.

    You could have seen me do what I still see runners doing: come to a stoplight and run in small circles while awaiting a break in traffic, thinking that walking or stopping would bring down a deadly lightning bolt.

    My walk-avoidance went beyond the running hours. I would run for miles but would drive a half mile to the grocery store. There I would circle a parking lot until a space opened up at the front door. Anything to keep from walking.

    To runners who still think and act this way, “walk” is a four-letter word. It is synonymous with giving up or wimping out.

    Like it or not, though, more marathoners each year run with walk breaks, walk with run breaks, or purely walk the distance. They are the reason that marathons have grown so much in this country-and running purists will add, accurately, why these events have slowed so much.

    Walking has caught on because it works, and not just in marathons. Walks can work not just as breaks within runs but also as a warm-up before a run, as a cool-down afterward, as an early rehab method after an injury, or as the first choice in substitutes when we don’t or can’t run.

    If the word “walk” still strikes you as dirty, think of it instead as interval running. Intervals aren’t just for speed training anymore.

    Breaking any big job into smaller pieces, separated by recovery breaks, lets us do more total work without feeling we’ve worked any harder. Walk breaks can make a long run last longer, a fast run go faster, an easy run feel easier.

    Walking has served me well in all of these ways. But this happened only after I learned that “walk” is not a nasty word.

    I had run, and only run, for a long time before finally learning to walk. It happened, as many good and lasting changes do, because I talked to the right people at the right time. This column both relays their teachings to you and gives them thanks from me.

    Continued in our Mar/Apr issue.

    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    Patti Catalano Dillon

    You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough.

    You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish,

    if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.

    PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, October 24, 1976—My most unforgettable marathon has to have been my first one. It was the inaugural Ocean State Marathon in Providence, Rhode Island, in the fall of 1976. But ironically, what I remember most are the events that led up to the race, not the race itself.

    I had started running barely 11 months before this first marathon because I wanted to lose weight. I never ran in high school or college. As I recall, I weighed 107 when I graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Weymouth, Massachusetts, but in the five years since then, I had gained 45 pounds.

    I had attended Quincy Junior College, where I majored in kiddy whist and beer. I had worked as a nurse’s aide all through high school and was still doing that job many years later. I loved it. But I was getting kind of tired of my life. I just really got tired. I knew there was more to life. I was very unhappy with the way things were going for me.

    Many times a group of the nurses with whom I worked would go out after work and have a few drinks, and I’d join them. I worked the second shift, from 4:00 P.M. to midnight. This going out for a few drinks after getting off work at midnight eventually developed into a lifestyle. First it was Thursday nights, then I added Fridays, and then every other Saturday night as well.

    I was around women-married women-and I was the only single one in the group. One night in March, I just got tired of listening to them complain about their husbands. I’d said: “If you don’t like it, leave!” And somebody threw that back at me: “Look at you! Look who’s talking!” (Only she didn’t say it quite so nicely.) And I sat back and took stock of that. I slid off the bar stool right then and there and didn’t go back.

    Meanwhile, a patient came into the hospital. She had a very unusual last name: Hajjar. And I thought to myself: I wonder if that’s the same family as this girl I went to school with. And it turned out that it was. It was her mother. I hadn’t seen her since we graduated. When the girl came in to visit her mother, she looked stunning! Navy-blue suit, briefcase, slim, educated, confident. I’m seeing this, and here I am, this lowly scrub-the-floor-and-empty-the-bedpans aide. And I thought: Oh, my gosh! She looked so happy. I knew what I was missing. I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t know what to do about it or how to get myself happy.

    Read all of My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    continued in our Mar/Apr issue…

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    Grandfather Mountain Marathon

    One of America’s toughest marathons

    With a subtitle like that, you would think the focus of a review of this race would be on the toughness, but not in this case. That is because this race is much more than a beautiful, tough, and challenging course. For one thing, it is also one of America’s oldest marathons, the second oldest in the South. The 2006 race will be the 39th running of this race and the 50th anniversary of the Highland Games of which it is a part. The spectacular finish during the Highland Games is one of the reasons that many runners repeat this race year after year.

    But about the toughness: “The toughest in the country” slogan for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon was printed on the race T-shirts in the ’80s. Since this race has such a long history, the slogan may have been true at one time. If the slogan is qualified to “the toughest road marathon in the country”—a bit too wordy to be catchy—it may still be true. Several trail marathons (and shorter trail races) are much tougher, and while there may be more difficult road marathons, they are not common knowledge.

    There is always a discussion among runners at the postrace refreshment tent about Grandfather’s relative toughness. To my knowledge, few other road marathons come close. Depending upon ability, this course is 15 to 30 minutes slower than a runner’s PR when the runner has a good race. This race is difficult, have no doubt about that; however, the race slogan has been amended to “one of America’s toughest marathons.”

    One of the most difficult marathons in North America. Only in our March/April issue…


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: Getting “High”: We’ve all heard about the benefits of living/training at altitude and then coming down from the mountain to a lower altitude to race, wherein the altitude-trained runner has an advantage. My question has three parts: 1. What altitude constitutes “altitude,” that is, an altitude where the effects of lower oxygen per cubic inch begin to be felt? 2. What is the ideal altitude to train and live at in order to obtain the benefits for racing at sea level? 3. At what altitude (what maximum altitude, that is) does the lack of sufficient oxygen volume begin to negatively affect training?

    Our experts answer this question in our March/April issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Clay Evans, Tito Morales, Hal Higdon, Paul Clerici, Dan Horvath, and Fred Stewart.


    Matt Carpenter

    Deviating from the horizontal.

    Clay Evans

    Matt Carpenter doesn’t like to tie his shoes. Call him “loose school.”

    “That’s one thing I do differently than a lot of people: I never untie my shoes. I just tie them and slip them on and off,” he says. “Today’s shoes are so built up that if you tie them too tight, the shock is transferred to your knees and your hips. I like to have my foot move around in my shoe.”

    But what about those black toenails? If you’re going to be running up and down mountains, don’t you have to tie your hi–tech, ultrasupported shoes tighter than a bear trap to avoid those?

    “Look, if you’re getting black toenails, you’re overstriding,” Carpenter says patiently, his smile rarely fading. “You have to try to run efficiently.”

    There is more that might surprise people about the man who has been called the king of Pikes Peak. Carpenter, 41, has won the grueling Pikes Peak Marathon 11 times, holds records in three age groups and the overall course record—and he shattered the record at the Leadville Trail 100 in 2005, just a year after moving up to ultra distances. Carpenter wears cheap, ankle-high cotton socks and cotton T-shirts when he runs, and these days, more often than not, he is pushing his 4-year-old daughter, Kyla, in a heavy-duty running stroller.

    “I’m definitely old school,” says Carpenter, whose blue eyes, broad forehead, and high cheekbones give him a perpetually cheery expression.

    A Move to the Ultra Side

    But there was nothing old school about his already legendary move into ultras, which came on June 19, 2004, in Lake City, Colorado. (Pikes Peak, though clearly an ultra in terms of difficulty, with 8,000 feet of climbing to above 14,000 feet—and of course, 8,000 feet of descent—is still just marathon distance.)

    In Carpenter’s first official race beyond the marathon distance, he blew away Dave Mackey’s course record in the San Juan Solstice 50-Mile Run by 43 minutes, becoming the first person to finish in under eight hours, at 7:59:44. That finish, nearly two hours faster than the next-best competitor, earned Carpenter the moniker “freak of nature” from awestruck race organizers.

    “San Juan was really scary for me, so I was glad once the gun went off and we got running,” Carpenter says as he trots along behind the stroller on his way into downtown Manitou Springs, one of his short training routes. “But everything just really clicked that day.”

    The next logical target was a 100-mile mountain race. Just two months after Lake City, Carpenter took on the infamous Leadville course—and bonked, though a Carpenter bonk is still a prodigious finish by most standards. After a fast start, he walked the last third of the race, finishing 14th.

    Post-Leadville ’04, he quickly identified his major problem: not enough recovery time.

    “If I had not done Lake City,” he said in 2004 the week after Leadville, “I could have won Leadville.”

    Some in the ultra community smirked at Carpenter’s “collapse”: guy can do 50 miles, sure, but a 100 is a whole different universe. Some dismissed Carpenter as a one-hit wonder.

    But Carpenter himself was only emboldened.

    “There is a reasonable chance I will do [Leadville] again next year,” Carpenter said following Leadville ’04. “One reason I didn’t want to quit is then I would definitely have to go back. I’ve done one, now. But I haven’t done one right… yet.”

    Continued in our March/April issue…

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    Peter Gilmore

    Anatomy of a late bloomer.

    Tito Morales

    It’s certainly no secret that marathoning is among the pursuits that demand the most patience. At the upper echelons of the sport, in particular, there is simply no way of achieving success without heaping many miles upon many years.

    Elite marathoners do not fall, fully intact, from the sky. Rather, they mature gradually from the ground up, like stately apple trees—initially developing a sturdy network of roots, then a robust trunk from which sprouts a substantive collection of branches, and then, and only then, the blossoms that will eventually evolve into fruit.

    Some trees, for whatever reason, yield more slowly than others.

    After a long and arduous journey that began nearly two decades ago, Peter Gilmore’s running career is finally beginning to bear fruit. In 2004, the 28-year-old produced an eighth-place finish at the U.S. Marathon Olympic Team Trials. Ten months later, he crossed the line second at the California International Marathon. And on April 18, 2005, Gilmore followed that up with a stirring tenth-place finish at the Boston Marathon.

    Thanks to such impressive results, Gilmore, unknown to all but the most ardent admirers of distance running, was selected to represent the United States at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

    However inspiring Gilmore’s story may be, though, it’s even that much more illuminating as to the monumental challenges that confront late developers in the sport of distance running.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Training with the Gunks

    A Marathon Training Odyssey, One Step and One Day at a Time. Part 1 of 3.

    Fred Stewart


    Whether this is your first marathon and your goal is simply finishing or this is your last marathon before you hang up your jock strap or Jog Bra, read on.

    If you are one of the millions of aging runners, like me, who still believes that your best marathon lies ahead, read on.

    Finally, if you have decided that you don’t want to simply run the marathon but want to race the marathon, read on. Train with us, the Shawangunk Runners, and have the race of your life.

    It won’t be easy, for there is no magic formula. But if your desire is great enough and you are committed to devoting an entire training season to racing the marathon, welcome to the Gunks.

    Me? My name is Fred Stewart. I’m an army brat who grew up with runners, as my father was the army track and field coach back in the early ’60s. Every day as the sun would set, that’s where I found myself, on the track at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where the Army track team was based. Even then I was intrigued with training techniques and used to go to all the meets and watch the great runners of the day compete. Training was much different back then. For example, every day in practice, the half milers would usually go out and race a hard half, jog around for an hour or so, and come back and do it again. It seemed to make sense at the time, but in retrospect, although my father loved the sport, I can’t say he was on the cutting edge of sports physiology.

    I ran in high school, but my passion waned and I didn’t run again until late in the running boom of the ’70s. I ran the New York City Marathon in 1985 and 1986. I forget my 1986 time, but I know I ran 3:25 in 1987. My training was highly suspect. I ran the same loop most days with little deviation and logged in a long run on the weekend. For various reasons, I didn’t run again until 1997 when I totaled a mere 510 miles. I would run in the good weather but pack up my running gear at the first sign of winter. When all was said and done, I was training each year in an attempt to get back to where I had ended the year before. Realizing this, I knew that I had to commit to a lifestyle change. I decided that I would train through the winter. As a motivational tool, I told everyone who would listen (or not). Friends, family, workmates, runners, nonrunners—everyone knew that I ran on Mondays, Wednesdays, and at least one day on the weekend.

    On Mondays, the Onteora runners, a local Kingston, New York, group, would meet at Dietz Stadium and run an eight-mile loop around Kingston. The group could be substantial during the nice weather, but it really thinned out in the winter. I remember one evening in particular. The sky was dark, and you could barely see a foot ahead of you. It was a full-scale blizzard. Despite the travel advisory, I trudged out to Dietz. I was shocked when not only Joe and Robert showed, two of the Monday night stalwarts, but also Kevin. I was dumbfounded. Yet when I asked why, Kevin simply said, “Stew, we just couldn’t have you run by yourself.” I’m a sap and never told him, but it brought a tear to my eyes.

    My first run of 1999 was on January 2, and my last run of the year was on December 31. I’ve been running year-round ever since with an occasional lull due to injuries. Currently I’m 56 and am training for a marathon in Richmond, Virginia, on November 13. My goal is to break three hours. Call me Stew. Running is my passion; I’m a Shawangunk Runner. To the rest of the local running community, we’re known as “the Gunks.”

    Continued in our March/April issue.

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    Run From the Hill Stations

    Descent Into the Valley Below Is a Run Into Humanity and Humidity. Part 2 of 3.

    Joanne Lane


    Heat, dirt, pollution, busy streets, and overcrowded buses are the impression we all have of India. And it is true of some places on the plains. But what of the cool beauty of hill stations like Mussoorie, set high in the Himalayan foothills? These hill stations are remnants of British occupation of India and provide stunning views of the snowcapped tips of the world’s highest mountain range, and the red-roofed villages seated below them in green hillsides are truly picturesque. Australian marathoner Peter Lane took the opportunity to discover some of the history and beauties of this region while living in Mussoorie for six months. In this second article, he runs from the Mussoorie hill station to Rajpur and Dehra Dun in the Doon Valley, a mainly downhill distance of 35K. His daughter, Joanne Lane, reports.

    Out of the eerie morning monsoon mist comes Australian marathoner Peter Lane. Visibility is poor, and he is alert for traffic. He narrowly avoids running into a cow that emerges suddenly out of the hazy whiteness. It had been picking through some rubbish, and its soft bell had not penetrated the thick air to give any warning.

    A coolie (employed to carry things), heavily laden with boxes, appears almost ghostlike in the fog like a soul damned to wander in eternal penance. Then he is gone—swallowed up by the mist.

    It is early, and the sun has failed to break through yet again, leaving only a dull gray light. Peter’s clothes hang damp and limply from his body. The air is so thick with moisture they did not dry, although he hung them up three days ago.

    This is monsoon. For three months, the heavens open and provide enough nourishment for India to last the rest of the year. Water sources replenish, fields become green, and everywhere spurts new life. Even inside the houses, new life begins as walls blacken with mold and beds remain clammy even though sleeping bodies try to dry the sheets all night.

    In the high altitude of the Mussoorie hills, the monsoon strikes even harder. Peter runs from Sister’s Bazaar (8,000 feet) to Landour Bazaar, a drop of 1,000 feet that takes only 10 minutes.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    A Tale of Two Bostons

    For Good or Ill, Boston Isn’t What It Used to Be. It’s the Same but Completely Different.

    Hal Higdon

    Race director David McGillivray, dressed in silver jacket and red cap, both bearing the logo of the Boston Athletic Association, moves like a water bug across the surface of a pond as he supervises the start of the 109th running of the Boston Marathon. Pointing and gesturing like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, McGillivray shifts a motorcycle policeman forward a few feet, coaxes several of the wheelchair athletes back behind the starting line, and next clears a lane so the elite women can warm up while waiting for their start six minutes after the wheelchairs.

    It’s a normal day at Hopkinton Green—that is, if that day is Patriots’ Day, a holiday in Massachusetts, the day the marathon is held. The Green swarms with vendors, spectators, and local residents just walking about on a warm and sunny spring morning.

    The narrow road leading to Boston contains, crunched together in corrals, 18,319 runners, most of them having posted fast qualifying times in order to enter what, arguably, is America’s most prestigious road race.

    Standing beside the starting line with three press passes for access to various areas hung around my neck and prior to boarding the press truck for a ride (instead of a run) into Boston, I glance up at the flag-bedecked reviewing platform and see Senator John Kerry standing above me holding a starting pistol, hardly a weapon of mass destruction but effective enough for getting the show moving. Standing beside him is the B.A.A.’s executive director, Guy Morse, dressed nattily in a blue blazer with the organization’s unicorn logo on his breast pocket.

    Morse’s job on race day includes attending to all the ceremonial aspects of Boston, everything from the firing of the start pistol to crowning the winners with laurel wreaths. Meanwhile, McGillivray does his water bug act, his main worry whether people to whom he has delegated responsibility (including 6,300 volunteers) complete their assigned tasks with dexterity and honor. If both men have done their jobs the preceding 364 days, the Boston Marathon will move forward like the smoothly oiled machine it is, and half a million spectators can watch 18,319 runners happily cover 26 miles, 385 yards from Hopkinton to Boston.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

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    Running’s Woodstock

    A Look Back at the 100th Boston Marathon 10 Years Later.

    Dan Horvath

    Were you there? Did you attend the greatest rock ’n’ roll gathering of all time? Woodstock was a one-of-a-kind event attended by thousands. It was a watershed; popular music can be considered in terms of everything that came before it, and then everything that happened and continues to happen afterward. Woodstock still exerts an enormous influence on rock ’n’ roll music.

    Were you there? Did you attend the greatest running gathering of all time? The 100th running of the Boston Marathon was also a one-of-a-kind event, attended by thousands. Boston 100 was also a watershed. Everything that came before—the previous 99 Boston Marathons, all of the New York, Chicago, London, and other big marathons—led up to the 100th Boston Marathon. Everything that came after Boston 100—number 101 on up, as well as the subsequent running of other big marathons—has been influenced to some degree by events on that day. Although it seems like only yesterday, that day, April 15, 1996, is now 10 years in our past.

    Every big-city marathon has something special to offer. All have excitement, crowds of cheering fans, great and average runners, and some measure of history and tradition. That said, the Boston Marathon still manages to stand out. No other marathon (with the possible exception of the Olympic Marathon) can come close to matching this history and tradition. No other marathon can match the camaraderie, this gathering of kindred souls. No other community provides this much support for a race and its runners. When was the last time you were treated like a king or queen for a weekend, just for being a runner? When was the last time you were able to commune with so many other kings and queens who all have this much in common: for the most part, they all had to qualify to get there, and they will all struggle together. When was the last time you ran in the footsteps of so many great runners throughout history? If you’ve done Boston, you know the answers. More than any other race, the Boston Marathon has always been a pilgrimage for runners. The 100th Boston Marathon was the pilgrimage to end all pilgrimages. Let’s take a look back to one of the most extraordinary days in the history of running.

    Continued in our March/April. Don’t miss this look back at Boston’s 100th running.

    Art of Media Coverage

    Great Strides Have Been Made in the Way Boston Is Covered.

    Paul Clerici

    Ever hear of Hopkinton? Heartbreak Hill? Kenmore Square? Chances are you have. And whether you live in Arizona, Oklahoma, or the Carolinas, these Boston Marathon landmarks are more familiar to runners thanks in large part to the increasing national and international coverage of the oldest annually contested marathon, first run in 1897.

    Watching live coverage of Boston from the other side of the planet has become as normal as, well, watching regular monthly programming of road races on TV. The popularity and broadcasting of footraces of varying distances have grown tremendously over the years to the point where the sport’s athletes and commentators, and even its cities and courses, have become famous.

    “Because of the interest in this event, and it’s unlike any other,” notes Guy Morse, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), the governing body of the Boston Marathon, “there’s more media that cover the Boston Marathon than any other [running] event. It’s actually the largest single-day sporting event for media credentials in the world, annually, except for the Super Bowl.”

    TV Coverage on Three Fronts

    Such media attention reflects the level of viewership, participation, and general interest in the marquee event, so much so that it warrants live start-to-finish coverage from two of the city’s network-affiliated stations and national cable’s Outdoor Life Network (OLN), which also covers the Tour de France.

    “Acquiring best-in-class events is an integral part of OLN’s programming strategy,” says OLN President Gavin Harvey. “The Boston Marathon definitely qualifies as one of those events, which is why we felt it belonged on our air.”

    Proof that the local and national TV media consider this to be a key event is seen in the stellar list of guest on-air personalities, among them Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson on WCVB-TV (ABC); Kathrine Switzer, Toni Reavis, Jean Driscoll, Tim Kilduff, and Uta Pippig on WBZ-TV (CBS); and Al Trautwig, Larry Rawson, and Dwight Stones on OLN.

    “We thought for our first year covering the event, our telecast went very smoothly thanks to our experienced programming and production team working in conjunction with Clear Channel and the B.A.A.,” notes OLN Senior Vice President of Programming and Production Marc Fein. “Between the three of us, we had the proper personnel and knowledge to pull it off. Luckily, there were no major obstacles to overcome.”

    Television coverage wasn’t always as fluid a process as has been the case in recent years. Sure, there are always bumps along the way, but there was a time, and it wasn’t too long ago, when archaic means of coverage were accepted as the norm.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Shut Up & Run

    The Best Strategy to Meet Your Marathon Goals Is to Plan Your Race and Race Your Plan.

    Tom Miller, Ph.D.

    For several years, I had the privilege and challenge of guiding blind runner Harry Cordellos. We ran a dozen Marine Corps Marathons and three Double Dipsea Trail Runs together. However, our most memorable race was the first World Blind Marathon Championship in the Nike-Vancouver International Marathon in British Columbia, Canada.

    The performance planning and execution principles and strategies we developed to meet this challenge became the basis for my doctoral studies in exercise science and sports psychology. I’ve subsequently used these principles while working with endurance athletes ranging from beginners to Jo Garuccio, a six-time women’s masters world champion triathlete; Dirk Cowley, a two-time men’s masters world stage-race cycling champion; and John Cahill, who ran his first marathon at age 65 in 3:04, at age 73 in 3:05, and at age 78 in 3:30. As I’m typing this article, 81-year-old John and I are on a weeklong cycling tour of southern Utah, northern Arizona, and western Colorado where we will cover about 100 miles a day. Given the opportunity to work with elite athletes, I’ve picked their brains to find out not only about the physiology of their training but also about the psychology of their mental preparation and racing strategies. The following story will illustrate the principles common to the successes of each of these special athletes.

    Early one January, Harry called and excitedly said, “Tom, I’ve got good news and bad news and need your help!” The First World Blind Marathon Championships were to be held May 1 in Vancouver, and the best blind runners in the world—including Harry—had been invited. The bad news was that to qualify for financial support from the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), he would have to win the National Blind Championship in the Boston Marathon two weeks before the championships—even though he was the four-time defending champion. Our challenge was clear but complicated. How do we both prepare to race two marathons in two weeks?

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Hatfield-McCoy Marathon

    No Feudin’, Just Runnin’, but for One Side or the Other.

    Denise Dillon

    Take a challenging, two-state course, add an historic family feud, a few goats, small mountain children, a stray dog or two, the charm of the Appalachian Mountains, and you’ve got the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon. It might be the quirkiness that draws runners, but the organized race and supportive volunteers keep them coming back.

    The Hatfield-McCoy feud is legendary in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia and Kentucky. It’s a legend of tragedy and vengeance, with a Romeo and Juliet love story thrown in. The marathon course takes runners past some of the many spots where the feud played out. To really appreciate the race, you have to know a little about the famous feud that took place around these here parts.

    The Hatfields lived on the West Virginia side of the Tug River, and the McCoys lived on the Kentucky side. The patriarchs of the two families were Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Randolph “Old Ranel” McCoy.

    Devil Anse was a guerilla leader in the Civil War. He was known as the best horseman and marksman in the valley. Although he could not read or write, he owned a lot of land and ran a lumber operation.

    Old Ranel served under Devil Anse in the Logan Wildcats, which was a guerilla band that supported the Confederates. Old Ranel and his clan lived on 300 acres of mountainous land in Kentucky. Over the years, they lost a lot of land in timber disputes. Because of that, they were suspicious and resentful of those in the lumber business.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

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    In the Beginning

    The Running Craze Can Be Traced to a 1962 Track Meet in Fresno.

    Richard Leutizinger

    A lot fewer of us would be running today if an obscure relay record hadn’t been set on a dirt track in the central California town of Fresno more than 40 years ago.

    Hardly anyone paid attention when four University of Oregon runners set a world record in the four-mile relay at the West Coast Relays there in 1962. It was big news only in Eugene, Fresno, and New Zealand, home of the previous record holders. Almost no one had even heard of a four-mile relay anywhere else. No one anywhere could possibly have realized the significance of what had occurred.

    Viewed now from another perspective, the record looks to be one of the most significant running achievements of the 20th century in the United States. It was the first link in a chain of events that culminated in a nationwide running movement that continues to thrive to this day.

    Few people ran in 1962 unless they were part of a high school or college track team. Road races, trail races, and running shoes without spikes weren’t part of most peoples’ consciousness. There were no stores catering exclusively to runners. There weren’t any doctors specializing in running injuries. There was no Marathon & Beyond.

    Only three marathons were run regularly in the United States at the time: Boston, Yonkers (New York), and Culver City (California). None had many entrants, with only 232 entered at Boston that year. All were men, most probably thought to be slightly eccentric, and many were foreigners. No one had even thought to ban women runners yet because there weren’t any.

    By present standards, the times of the Oregon runners weren’t overly impressive. Archie San Romani Jr. led off with a 4:03.5, Vic Reeve followed with a 4:05.2, Keith Forman ran 4:02.5, and Dyrol Burleson finished with a 3:57.7. The total time of 16:08.9 was 14.9 seconds faster than the New Zealanders had run when they set the record in 1961. To them, this was an affront.

    Continued in our March/April issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan On Running

    Quarter-Mile Intervals Aren’t Necessary, But They Are Surely Wonderful for Building Character.

    Dr. George Sheehan

    Volume 10 | Number 3 | May/June 2006



    Stop Racing

    At our last board meeting for the 2006 Napa Valley Marathon, we were all given a start when Mark Bunger, a California Highway Patrol officer and board member, passed out a packaged wristband similar to the yellow Livestrong bands Lance Armstrong has been selling on behalf of cancer research. “I’ve got enough for all the runners’ bags,” he said. Gard Leighton and I glanced at the 3-inch-by-3-inch piece of literature packaged with the purple wristband, then at each other. The headline on the little square of paper shouted RACING KILLS!

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    Guest Editorial

    Marathon Integrity: Nothing Less Is Acceptable!

    Rick Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon Race Director

    Running the marathon distance has become one of those ultimate challenges in life that society has recognized as an incredible feat. A mere fraction of the human population will ever have achieved this level of greatness called “marathon finisher.” Sore muscles, blistered heels, black toenails, and rivulets of sweat encountered along the way become every bit as much of a badge of honor as a finisher’s medal for those who conquer the marathon distance of 26.2 miles, whether the first, 10th, or 100th time across a finish line.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    On the Road with Joe Henderson

    Past Fast

    I advise marathoners to adopt a practice that I came to only late in my marathoning life. That’s to name the person who most helped to put you where you are, then to dedicate your big effort to him or her. Write the initials on your hat brim or race number, or just carry that person’s image in your heart. When the going gets tough, as it surely will if it’s an effort worth making, think about that special someone. That way he or she can keep on helping.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

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    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    Lorne Sundby

    EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA, Saturday, June 21, 2003—It’s 10:15 in the evening and nearly dark. It has been raining on and off all night; we’ve been on our feet for what seems like days.

    I was absolutely beat, my friend beside me also exhausted.

    But as it has each time before, the foggy confusion of fatigue and depletion was suddenly replaced by the excitement of anticipation. We rounded the final turn and looked down the street. Way ahead, lit up like a night game at Fenway, was the finish line of the Edmonton Race the Twilight Marathon.

    My job was pacer, adviser, motivator, and mule. Beside me was my running pal Cathy, about to finish her first 26.2-mile race. I had been dispensing wisdom for weeks and talking nonstop for over five hours. I wanted to say to her: “Now, Cathy, look around you and clear your head; remember the next two minutes; cherish this finish line experience; soak in every ounce of feeling from what will be one of the most memorable moments of your life.”

    That’s what I wanted to say.

    Screw it, I was tired. I turned to her and gave her my last piece of advice: “Wake up!”

    Continued in our May/June issue…

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    Disney Marathon

    Hey, Mister, Want to Buy Some Wetlands?

    If your name is Walt Disney and the year is 1965, the answer is a resounding yes! After the rousing success of the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and 1965, where Disney’s four attractions (General Electric, Ford, Pepsi-Cola, and the State of Illinois) drew 128,000 people a day, a new challenge was inevitable. Disney’s premise for a family park began while spending time with his young daughters on Saturdays in the park. He ate peanuts while sitting on a bench as his children rode a merry-go-round. Why couldn’t parents and children have fun together?

    Read the rest in our May/June issue.


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: In the Himalayas I read with great interest the recent articles by Barry Lewis and Rachel Toor regarding the 100-mile Himalayan Run & Trek (HRT). I am very interested in applying for the 2006 race but live in relatively flat Nova Scotia. Training at any altitude is virtually impossible. How might I prepare for such a race at such a high altitude? Someone suggested sleeping in a special tent to get used to breathing thin air.

    Our experts answer this question in our May/June issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are


    Race Directors, Inc.

    Ah, for the relaxed and idle life of the race director.

    Paul Clerici

    A marathon has it all.

    There are records forged by elite and amateur athletes. There are cheaters such as Rosie Ruiz in the 1980 Boston Marathon. There are fantastic turns such as German Silva at the 1994 New York City Marathon where, as the leader, he followed a lead motorcycle right off the course at Central Park and had to turn back onto the roads (where he eventually won). There are miscalculations, like that seen most recently at the 2005 Lakeshore Marathon where an additional mile made that 42K in Chicago a 27.2-miler. And there are personal triumphs, new friendships, marriage proposals, weddings, and even deaths.

    What is involved in the creation of any marathon is equally compelling and mind-boggling. Much like running one, organizing a marathon is not for the timid. It is a monumental struggle that never goes off without a problem, never runs as smoothly as desired, and never comes off without a great level of difficulty. Yet, the end result is always worth the expended energy, regardless of which side of the tape you find yourself on. And as the race directors of some randomly selected U.S. marathons can attest, this is often the case.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

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    Worlds Apart: Women We Love

    Two race directors are worlds apart but sisters under the skin.

    Kathrine Switzer

    Two very different women runners, who live in wildly disparate places 10,000 miles apart, share the same dream. One is old enough to be the other’s mother, yet they’ve both been running for the same number of years. One runs competitively, the other collects marathons; one wears rhinestones and pink cowboy boots, the other Nike tights and running shoes. Austrian Ilse Dippmann and American Elaine Doll-Dunn, both as lithe and energetic as teenagers, knock themselves out to provide some of the best organization in women’s running today and give enough heart to keep us going forever.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    Curves in the Canyon

    To compete in a marathon is one thing, but to put one on is a whole ’nother world.

    Elaine Doll-Dunn

    More curves in the canyon already replete with curves? Oh yeah! As young as 19, as seasoned as 68; 27 states represented in a collage of feminine beauty; the kind of beauty identified by courage, class, and especially a capacity for fun. The first all-women’s marathon in South Dakota began at 6:30 in the morning at the Lead Country Club, and things went downhill from there.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It

    A race director’s ramblings.

    Clark Gilbert

    As an Islander and an avid runner and marathoner, I dreamed of having a marathon here in the San Juan Islands. The scenery is beautiful and the weather rarely reaches past 80 degrees in the summer. Because we live in the Olympic Rain Shadow, we have less rain than, say, Seattle—a fact that the tourist industry loudly proclaims. To me, it is similar to saying that Paul Allen has less money than Bill Gates. The point is they are both extremely wealthy, just as the Islands and Seattle are both extremely wet. In truth, the rains come more as a heavy mist. I have lived and run in Montana, and I will take running in heavy mist over snow up to the knees any day (unless it’s Christmas, ’cause that is just plain fun).

    Continued in our May/June issue.

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    “Duel in the Sun” Revisited

    Hal Higdon’s classic chronicle of Boston’s best duel: Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley, 1982. Part II.

    Hal Higdon

    Editor’s note: Part I of “‘Duel in the Sun’ Revisited” appeared in Boston Marathon
    & Beyond, a special issue about the Boston Marathon published in April 2006.

    Mind Games

    At Wellesley College, women from the school crowded into the streets, forming a corridor so narrow that the entourage of vehicles accompanying the lead runners had to slow to squeeze through. The female spectators shrieked in appreciation of the runners passing their doors. “They were screaming so loud it hurt,” recalled Salazar. Several of the lead runners offered quick waves of thanks. Most yearned for the relative quiet once the college was behind them, although there was little quiet on the Boston course that year. The unseasonably warm and sunny weather, plus the promise that Alberto Salazar might set a world record, had attracted more spectators than anyone could remember from previous years. Some suspected the number to be as high as two million, although nobody could say for sure. Boston was a sporting event where you could not count the number of tickets sold.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    Like a Train in the Darkness

    Killer humidity threatens to end the third and final run early. Part 3 of 3.

    Joanne Lane

    Bells, gongs, burning incense, colorful flowers, and pilgrims. Peter joins the pilgrimage to the Ganges River on his third and final run and stops at the holy Hindu cities of Rishikesh and Haridwar. His daughter, Joanne Lane, reports.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    The Runner’s Nightmare

    When Western States goes sour, the pursuers seem doubly menacing.

    Deke Houlgate

    Michelle Barton held onto Dave Van Wicklin’s arm and watched the other runners pass them in the early-morning hours, guided by their pinpoint flashlights. As they stepped by on the narrow trail, most showed concern. A few were jogging, but many were already reduced to walking.

    “Are you all right?” one fellow solicited.

    Dave, Michelle’s pacer starting at the 62-mile mark, answered the well-wisher’s concern by changing the subject.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

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    Comrades: A Firsthand Account

    A practical approach to running one of the world’s foremost races.

    Ellen McCurtin

    The Comrades Marathon looms large in the pantheon of ultras and with good reason. Throughout its long history (2005 was the 80th running), it has only gained in stature, attracting a huge field (approximately 12,000 on average) and luring the fastest ultrarunners in the world to test themselves on its punishing hills in hopes of earning a spot in running history as well as a nice amount of prize money.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    A Marathon Training Odyssey

    One step and one day at a time. Part 2 of 3.

    Fred Stewart

    I have arbitrarily begun each week on Monday. Seemed normal enough to me; I mean, doesn’t everyone begin their running calendar on Monday?

    The answer is no. It took me years to learn that Lou starts his on Sunday. I run with Lou an average of four times per week. Although he loves running, he never seems to log in enough miles. I use the term “log” loosely. Needless to say, Lou does not keep a log. Nor does he wear a watch for that matter. Yet despite this, whenever I would ask Lou about his mileage, he always seemed to have more miles than I did.

    One evening, after a Friday run during a week in which I was going to peak at 72, I asked Lou how his mileage was coming. “Oh, with today, I’ve got a good 50 in,” Lou responded.

    “That’s it!” I screamed in exasperation. “I want a complete review of each day this week!”

    “Sure,” said Lou. “Well, I started with 22 on Sunday, then on …”

    “Woo, woo, woo, woo. What’s this ‘I started with 22’ crock?”

    “Oh, I’ve always started my weeks on Sunday.”

    The son of … No wonder he always had more miles. Anyway, for simplicity and in the interest of honesty, we will begin our weeks on Monday.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

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    Dr. Sheehan On Running

    Dr. George Sheehan

    If clothes make the man, it is certainly a man who hadn’t run a step in his life. Part 3.

    Before and After

    My war with the garment industry began when I was 11. I was a city boy newly arrived at the seashore, and the boy next door invited me sailing. It was a first for me and also, unfortunately, for my mother. She dressed me in a regular suit with short pants, added a shirt and topped it off with a tie arranged in a bow and a Buster Brown collar. Not since H.M.S. Pinafore has a sailor been attired in such a costume.

    Continued in our May/June issue.

    Volume 10 | Number 4 | July/August 2006



    Running As Transportation

    There has been an increasing mélange of video documentaries celebrating America from the days when it was composed of much-tougher individuals. Everything from a two-year-long celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 200 years ago to the survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake—and everything in between, from the California gold rush to John Muir among the big sequoias of Kings Canyon.

    And they all have one thing in common: people using their two legs to get from one place to another place, which is often a journey from safety to danger—and beyond danger, to fulfillment.

    Few of the documentaries perpetuate the myth personified on the old Wagon Train TV series that pioneers rode from one campsite to the next in Conestoga wagons while wily scouts ranged far ahead looking for the safest passage. In actuality, few of the pioneer and frontier folks rode in the wagons; the wagons were reserved for their goods, and in order to preserve their horses and oxen, the pioneers walked in front of, beside, or behind their wagons.

    The epic journey that Lewis and Clark embarked upon across the country—and back—involved two forms of transportation: navigating rivers and walking.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

    Guest Editorial

    My Marathons and, More Important, My Beyond

    Bee McCleod, Road Runners Club of America President

    Fifty-six of ’em. Some in miles, some in kilometers. Water, sports drinks, hot tea, beer, wine, and everything in between at aid stations. One a month for a year, one a year for years, and some years, none. Spectators, bands, pet goats (Berlin), “men in red dresses” (New Orleans!), and nothing at all at the sidelines. Those were my marathons, and now I’ve moved to my beyond stage.

    It’s not the typical beyond stage a reader of Jan and Rich’s masterpiece, Marathon & Beyond, might expect. That type of beyond—ultras, adventure runs—is beyond me. It has something to do with needing cartilage in your knee to be able to run (go figure!). The beyond to my marathons has been something I would like to tell you about because it has meant a great deal to me—and it could to you too. It’s the beyond of volunteering, and it can be as rewarding as you want to make it.

    Think of it. Behind every local running club are volunteers putting on races, helping coach beginning runners, and writing newsletter articles. The list goes on. Clubs can’t survive without volunteers.

    Behind every great race—be it a 10,000-plus event or a 50-person neighborhood fun run—are volunteers working aid stations, handing out race numbers and goody bags, and being course marshals. Again, the list goes on. Races can’t survive without volunteers.

    Even for those of us who choose not to join a club or to run in races but who just enjoy our sport in its purest sense—alone—there are volunteers: family members who mind the kids while we’re out running, friends whom we keep waiting while we finish up that last mile, and significant others who plow through those endless piles of smelly laundry we leave behind and don’t complain about how the closet smells thanks to our 13 pairs of beat-up running shoes. Dare I repeat myself and say the list goes on? We need volunteers.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

    On the Road with Joe Henderson

    Past Fast

    Speed is fleeting. Enjoy it while you have it, because it won’t last long.

    For most runners, racing speed peaks in our first 10 years or so, then slowly erodes. Then our PRs become memories instead of goals.

    Paces that we once held for a marathon become those of a half, then a 10K, a 5K, a single mile. If we keep running races, they become slower than our easy training runs used to be.

    If that prospect depresses you, consider the alternative: full retirement. I can’t speak for you, but I would much rather be a slow runner than no runner.

    I had my allotted decade of improvement and a little more. My PRs first started falling at age 14, and the last big one fell at 25—which means I’ve gone without any new ones for almost four-fifths of my running life.

    If you run long enough, this will happen to you. Then you’ll look back at all your fastest times, and look ahead to… what? That’s what you’re about to hear, that there’s life after the last PR, and that it’s a good and active and satisfying life.

    You won’t hear just from me but also from someone who had much more speed to lose. You can pick no better model for slowing gracefully than Bill Rodgers. I’ve watched it and have taken inspiration from it.

    Few Americans have ever raced better and faster than Bill: a total of eight victories within five years at Boston and New York City and first American to break 2:10 (which he did twice, with 26 more sub-2:15s). Those are his memories now.

    He hasn’t run a marathon in seven years. At age 57, he now runs races at his old easy-day training pace and is fine with that. Better to be a slower runner than a former runner.

    The years are great levelers. After chasing Bill Rodgers since the 1970s, I finally caught up with him—briefly—last summer.

    Continued in our July/August issue.

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    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    Chris Kostman

    WASILLA, ALASKA, February 20, 1993—Alaska is the kind of place where, unlike the other 49 American states, a car is about the least likely way of getting around. Much of the state can be reached only by light aircraft. More than half the year, most people get around by snow machine (called “snowmobiles” in the rest of the world). But the true Alaskans, and the true athletes, prefer a dog team, skis, snowshoes, or even bicycles for getting around America’s largest state. That, of course, gives rise to all manner of competitive events.

    Following the creation of the 1,150-mile long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973, ski and snowshoe races began taking place on a 100-mile stretch of this trans-Alaska trail by the early 1980s. In 1987, the 200-mile Iditabike Mountain-Bike Race was founded by Dan Bull. Then in 1991, Bull rolled all these “undog” events into a human-powered extravaganza called Iditasport. That race was held until 2001, and I competed seven times.

    I raced the 200-mile mountain bike race in 1988, 1989, and 1991; then in 1993, I opted for the 100-mile snowshoe division. I wanted to “traverse land more home to moose than man” with a simpler approach than in my previous three races there on a bike. Also, after having pushed and shoved my mountain bike anywhere from 15 to 60 miles of the 200-mile bike race in previous years because of snow that was too soft or rutted to support a bicycle tire, I was looking forward to using equipment more logical and appropriate for trekking through Alaska in wintertime.

    Having become a major enthusiast and proponent of snowshoeing—my goal then was to become the Jim Fixx of snowshoeing—I also wanted to give it a go in the sport’s toughest and most-revered event. Also, I truly feel a part of something historic when I’m on snowshoes, since they date back 6,000 years in the archaeological record. One hundred miles on snowshoes promised to put me in touch with something ancient, even primordial. The shoes didn’t let me down.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    Sportshoe Center Maine Marathon

    Everything a Big-City Marathon Isn’t.

    Maine has few high-profile road races. Undoubtedly the best known is the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K (B2B), run in the suburb of Cape Elizabeth and created in 1998 by the state’s best-known marathoner, Olympic gold-medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. But second in renown to B2B is surely the Sportshoe Center Maine Marathon.

    Like B2B’s, the marathon’s course includes memorable stretches—or at least extended glimpses—of authentic Maine coastal beauty. After B2B, the marathon (plus half-marathon and relay) is the state’s second-biggest road race, with 2,200 finishers (736 in the marathon) in 2005.

    In generosity, Maine’s triple-pronged distance event is second to none. Its all-volunteer organizers take justifiable pride in raising more money for charity than any other race in the state. Last year, the event donated $45,000 to Camp Sunshine, a Maine retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. (That sum represented 47 percent of the total race budget.)

    But of course the Maine Marathon is first and foremost a footrace, not a charitable fund-raiser. Its slogan, playing off the state’s promotional “the way life should be,” is “Maine . . . the way a marathon should be.” And race organizers and the host Maine Track Club do a highly creditable job of presenting a no-glitch, few-frills marathon that attracts a wide range of runners, from 50 Staters to first-timers.

    Check out this gem of a marathon in Maine in our July/August issue.


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question: Fire and Ice I have run three marathons—one every six months. I’m preparing for the Lake Tahoe Marathon in October, and we’ve booked a room in King’s Beach with a hot tub that is very near the lake. As a result, I have both hot water and cold water at my disposal. I’m torn as to which body of water I should jump into right after the marathon. Some friends say I should enjoy the soothing waters of the hot tub, while other, more experienced marathoners say to get into the cold waters of the lake as soon after the finish line as possible. Which do you suggest?

    Our experts answer this question in our July/August issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Don Kardong, Mike McQuaide, Gail Kislevitz, Jack McDermott, Fred Stewart, and Matt Fitzgerald.


    The Mad Mountain

    The Middle of Summer on Mount St. Helens Isn’t Supposed to Be As Foggy As San Francisco.

    Don Kardong

    This is the end of July, the apex of summer, so it’s supposed to be hot. Even here, halfway up a mountain in the Pacific Northwest. Or maybe that’s halfway up half a mountain. At any rate, it’s supposed to be warm, sunny, and clear, with eagle-eye views of river valleys, rolling evergreen hillsides, and mountain peaks that beg to be worshipped.

    This is what we expected. Instead, Mike and I find ourselves floundering in a fog bank, zigzagging uphill—cairn to post, post to cairn, cairn to cairn—like a couple of wayward schooners lost at sea, dripping drizzle from our mizzenmasts. And barely warm.

    We’re surrounded by what appears to be a landslide, giant black blocks of slippery, angular stone, some the size of Volkswagens, none of them easy to scuttle across. This is, we discover later, an ancient lava flow. It is beautiful in a stark, melancholic way, the ragged edge of the hillside pasted against a foggy gray background like modern art. Lovely or not, though, we’re simply trying to follow the vaguest notion of a path up and across it, then find the next portion of the Loowit Trail. We need to circumnavigate 30-some miles of Mount St. Helens before sundown. And time’s a-wastin’.

    Mike glances at his wrist. “We’re climbing 39 feet per minute,” he reports.

    Great. We may not know where the trail is, and we may run out of daylight and freeze to death on the side of this volcano, but at least, thanks to my partner’s altimeter, we have good information about our rate of vertical ascent.

    Actually, I’m not peeved at Mike. We’re in the same boat here, caught off guard by the claustrophobic fog, the ambiguity of the route, the impossibility of doing much actual running. We both figure this section of the trail is an aberration and that we’ll soon be sailing on clearly marked, well-tended trails. The ranger, after all, didn’t discourage us from attempting the loop around the mountain. He even claimed to have done it himself. So, yes, this section of the route must be an aberration.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    Around Mount St. Helens

    In One Very Long Day, the Fear of Running in the Sweltering Heat of Summer Quickly Disappeared.

    Mike McQuaide

    Shuffling up a sandy slope inside one of the many canyons on Mount St. Helens’s southeast side, my running partner and I question a certain park ranger’s motives.

    “When you hit Windy Pass, it’s pretty easy from there,” the ranger had said. “The last nine miles are mostly downhill.”

    Yeah, right.

    We had run through Windy Pass more than an hour ago on this 30-mile circumnavigation of Mount St. Helens via the Loowit Trail. The only thing we had found to be “mostly downhill” since the pass were our spirits. By 5:30 on this late July afternoon when we found ourselves yo-yoing up and down gorge after gorge, we had been running, speed hiking, and scrambling for over nine hours.

    To get an idea of what this stretch of the Loowit is like, spread your fingers on one hand, press it into some wet sand, and then remove it. These canyons and ridges are a supersize version of the handprint you just made. They are the results of mudflows that blasted through the earth during the 1980 eruption.

    In front of me, Don Kardong, my partner in this trail-running adventure, wonders if I instigated the ranger’s fibbery.

    “You didn’t happen to question his ability to distinguish flora from fauna, did you?” asks Don, a noted writer and former Olympic marathoner.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Dialog With Don

    Don Kardong Was Inducted Into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. What’s He Got to Say About That?

    Bob Kopac

    On the weekend of the 2005 Utica, New York, Boilermaker 15K, running legends Greg Meyer, Bob Schul, and Don Kardong were inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. Don Kardong is famous for finishing fourth in the 1976 Olympic marathon, missing the bronze medal by three seconds (in a PR of 2:11:16). He is a founding member and past president of the Association of Road Racing Athletes and past president of the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). He founded the Spokane Lilac Bloomsday 12K Run that today attracts 50,000 runners, joggers, and walkers. He is a contributing editor for Runner’s World. After the ceremonies, Bob Kopac had a chance to interview Don Kardong and get his reflections on his induction and on his running career.

    Bob Kopac: This is the first time I cut to the back of a line [to be the last person so I can interview Don]. Since you are a Monty Python fan, what is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?

    Don: I don’t have a favorite color. But if I had one, it would be green because every place I run that I love is green . . . except the Grand Canyon.

    Bob:When you learned of your induction into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, what was your first impression?

    Don: I think of all the great athletes in here, and I was just kind of humbled. Really, because the people that I have admired my entire running career are in here. To be mentioned among them is a little overwhelming.

    Bob: How did your family take it?

    Don: They thought it was great. Actually, they had an announcement at the [2005] Boston Marathon that I could not go to, at a luncheon there, a media announcement. But my daughter goes to Boston College, and she thought it was totally cool that she got to get up and say a few words on behalf of her dad. So, it’s great, they love it.

    Interview continued in July/August issue

    Take a Walk on the Dark Side

    Is It All Really Meaningless? Or Just a Run Away From Depression?

    Chuck Bryant

    Having completed my 50 States & D.C. marathon circuit in May 2004, I took a few months off to relax and recuperate, both physically and emotionally. That fall I began easing back into workouts. By year’s end, I had begun stepping up the intensity and consistency enough that I lost a few pounds. By mid-2005, that healthy loss had continued to about 25 pounds. I improved my workouts in both speed and distance. Now mentally refreshed as well, I decided to try a fall race. I chose the Darkside Marathon in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City. (The race director tells me that the “Darkside” name for the sponsoring running club and the race comes from many of the members’ running in early morning, before sunrise.) I felt confident that I would do well and that I would run more of the distance than usual.

    When I made those plans, I had no idea what else would slow me down much more than any physical concerns such as today’s blisters or anxiety about my ongoing cancer treatment.

    On Sunday morning, November 6, 2005, some 20 participants gathered for the 50K while 21 of us walked to the separate start line for the marathon. The two events would begin simultaneously and run on the same asphalt loop (just under 5.18 miles) on a trail system throughout Peachtree City. Marathoners would complete five loops beyond the extra segment at the start; 50K participants would go six laps.

    Overcast skies and moderate temperatures (60s?) supported my cautious optimism—cautious because I didn’t know what to expect with my new, new prosthetic leg. (I had trained for a couple of months on an earlier new prosthesis, only to have the socket begin cracking about 10 days before the race. Power outages from Hurricane Wilma prevented my prosthetist from dealing with this until four days before the marathon. I had no opportunity to try out the replacement socket and make adjustments, hence my uncertainty.) So I undertook the first loop just walking briskly, not even racewalking, to assess the fit. Before completing even one loop, already I felt some growing discomfort from friction at the distal end of my below-knee stump.

    This sort of distal early warning I normally don’t feel until at least the late teen miles. Sometimes I don’t have it at all. Today it began with over 20 miles to go. My cautious optimism became more cautious and less optimistic.

    Experience from 58 marathons and ultras told me this will become blisters bad enough to hinder my pace substantially and require at least a week to heal before I can walk without wincing. OK, I can live with it. (I generally do have a resilient, affirmative outlook; I tend to see, or at least look for, the positive in most things.)

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Pulling the Trigger at 40

    Setting a Difficult Goal Can Change Everything.

    Kevin Polin


    What makes a real runner? What constitutes an athlete? Do I run or do I jog? As I approached my 40th birthday, I reflected on these questions and also on my so-called athletic achievements: over 30 marathons (12 in one year), two 50-milers, two 100-milers, half a dozen triathlons, and a few mountaineering expeditions. But looking back at my race photos, I noted that I looked distinctly overweight in several of them, especially in a couple of triathlon photos where a definite paunch was hanging over my tight triathlon swim trunks. Yes, I had done a lot of running over the last 12 years, but had I really given everything I could to training, even just for one race? I didn’t think so.

    The time felt right. My 40th birthday was coming up toward the end of the year, and the fall would be a good time to run a marathon. Coincidentally, my birthday fell on the same day as a couple of fast-rated marathons: Chicago and Steamtown (Scranton, Pennsylvania). I decided on Steamtown since my family and I could drive there and visit my wife’s relatives. I had less than nine months to train for the race and had incurred an irritating injury after my second 100-miler—probably patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)—but it didn’t seem to hamper my running, so on went my plan.

    I then had an even bigger idea: why not try to qualify for the Boston Marathon? My fastest time was still my first marathon of 3:38 (back in 1998), and I would need to run 3:20 at Steamtown to meet Boston’s strict regulations, which seemed like a daunting task. But turning 40 had given me another five minutes to qualify (it was 3:15 previous to this), so I thought I would take that opportunity. To cap off my initial preparations, I requested the number-40 bib, and Steamtown kindly obliged. There was no turning back now. I had nine months to get to Boston, and I would have no excuses. I wanted to give everything I had to a training plan to see what this 40-year-old body could do. I had plenty of excuses to avoid the challenge, including three young kids and being constantly on the road with my consulting job, but I wanted to give it one big push since it occurred to me that a personal-best time is more likely earlier rather than later in your running career. For the first time in my life, I even changed my diet and paid attention to what I was putting in my body. Even more astounding: I moderated my pub drinking! I was a regular at one of Atlanta’s well-known pubs but quickly discovered that I could still make appearances and say hello to everyone even if I limited myself to just three pints once a week. I even experimented with long runs and drinking and found that I could still do a decent early-morning long run after consuming four pints the previous night. Three pints was better, but five pints tipped me over the edge and made it difficult to even get up early enough for the run. So I made it a point to tell the barmen that four pints was my limit, and they and my friends began to respect my self-imposed limit.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    The Last Shall Be… Nearly Last.

    Serena Richardson

    We entered the craggy, southern Italian hills, where the towns are built on impossible cliffs and the chitarra pasta is cut with wires. My husband, Luciano, and I had driven 400 miles south from our home in the Veneto to Abruzzo, the Wyoming of Italy, to run in one of the few trail marathons in Italy, an ecomaratona. This region sits between northern and southern Italy, a border state straddling two worlds. To the north, a cold resentful Milan hums with a productive bustle. In the south, Rome and Naples sit back on their heels in their own happy squalor and, according to northerners, wait complacently for the north to sustain them. Abruzzo is so wild, so isolated, that it is geographically able to rise above it all, literally.

    Luciano planned to run the classic marathon, starting at an elevation of 2,900 feet, straight up a mountainside. I was, to celebrate my birthday, going for the baby run—a measly 13K. I’m a veteran of hundreds of rolling, sea level 6K to 10K races, but this one would be the longest and highest of my trail-running career, and I was secretly petrified.

    We drove past villages perched on rocks hundreds of feet above a narrow gorge, the stone houses clinging to the cliffs like gray crabs on a boulder. Luciano commented that the bricklayers who placed the foundations must have been medieval acrobats, working with ropes and pulleys, swinging above the dizzying precipices. With the opportunity to plummet to their death only inches from the front door, we imagined that nocturnal trips to the outside loo might have been a death-defying adventure—and an easy explanation for any occasional disappearance.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Ultimate Cross-Country Run

    An Interview With John Wallace III in the Wake of His Transcontinental Run of 2004-2005.

    John Strumsky

    At precisely 7:09:14 A.M. PST on September 26, 2004 (his dad’s birthday), John Wallace III stood in the Pacific Ocean at Westport, Washington, then started running on his quest to cross the United States of America. After covering more than 3,800 miles on foot in 124 days, he stopped running at Tybee Island, Georgia, where he stood in the Atlantic Ocean at exactly 4:53:19 P.M. EST on January 27, 2005 (his mom’s birthday). His saga is a rare running adventure, one that only a handful of hardy souls have ever attempted.

    John Strumsky sat down with John and his family and a large gathering of friends and runners the next day to chat with him about his exploits.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Long Run as a Short Story

    Every Race Has a Story to Tell, Even If It’s Hard to Find the Words.

    by Matt Baxter

    My wife doesn’t believe me when I tell her that I don’t think about a whole lot during a marathon. With all the free hours I have, Kristin thinks I am having deep philosophical discussions with myself, solving world problems like hunger and war, or at the very least listening to a few good books on tape. I tell her a brain transcript would be more like, “shoe … asphalt … tree … cloud … shoe … runner.” And that’s about an hour’s worth.

    I just don’t think about much while I am running. I am a runner who zones out, as opposed to those who have lengthy conversations or those who cheer for quiet spectators. At the finish line, it is more images than words that I remember. Therefore, any description from me about a race is going to be a short story, maybe a hundred words or so. But that’s OK. Voluminous tomes about marathons have their place in the world; so does the short story. Here are a few.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

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    Fuel for the Finish Line

    Eight Lessons to Get You There.

    Chris Kostman

    Rabbit Lake, Alaska, 1993

    I awoke at sunrise in a cozy sleeping bag in the Alaskan wilderness. It was 10 degrees above zero, and I was 65 miles and 24 hours into a 100-mile snowshoe race on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail. It was February, the dead of winter, and I was hungry.

    This was a problem. I had only enough powdered Unipro Endura Optimizer to fill my CamelBak with a 1,200-calorie liquid meal. This is the liquid food that I used for years as my racing fuel. It provides carbs, protein, and everything else needed to sustain a person without the hassle of chewing. One CamelBak full of this special potion would, I hoped, be enough to get me 35 miles down the trail to the finish line. But after stopping to sleep for six hours in a tent at the second of only two checkpoints along the racecourse, I needed some breakfast, something I could sink my teeth into.

    The checkpoint volunteers could not help me; the Iditasport race rules prohibit them from providing any supplies during the race except water, hot chocolate, and Tang.

    A lightbulb going on in my head, I headed for the back of the checkpoint tent, where the trash was kept. Surely some of the 50 mountain bikers, skiers, and snowshoers who had gone through this checkpoint during the night had left something to eat!

    Breakfast that beautiful, crisp, cold Alaskan morning was my fellow competitors’ throwaways: three bites of a PB&J sandwich, half a brownie, about a dozen yogurt-covered raisins, and half an energy bar covered in pocket fuzz.

    Renewed by other people’s unwanted calories, I hit the trail and finished the race in good form.

    Lesson #1: Scrounge if you have to, but always eat what you need when your life depends on it. There’s usually something edible to be found, whether in the back row of a 24-hour minimart, your friend’s kitchen, or the nearest dumpster.

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    The Gnarly Dude

    Bob Hayes Logs Miles and Trees in Big-Sky Country.

    Gail Jokerst

    The first time Bob Hayes ran a race he was 60 years old, wearing logging boots, and concerned about making it across the finish line. Twenty years later, Bob still worries about completing races, even though he finishes most of the ones he starts. His logging boots, however, languish in the closet while he laces up his Nikes.

    Today, Bob’s is one of the most familiar and beloved faces on Montana’s racing circuit. Other runners admire him for competing at a high level and look forward to seeing him at state and regional events. Younger runners, who have heard about this legend, often introduce themselves saying, “You’re an inspiration. I hope I can do so well at your age.”

    Considering that Bob tackles about 25 major races annually, friends and fans have many opportunities to catch him in action. They spot him running everything from Missoula’s one-and-a-half-mile Mount Sentinel Hill Climb to the 50-mile Le Grizz along Hungry Horse Reservoir just a few miles from Glacier National Park. And speaking of Le Grizz, Bob has completed the grueling endurance race 10 years straight.

    Dubbed by his daughter-in-law “the gnarly dude,” Bob credits his son, Tom, with getting him hooked on racing. It all started in 1987 when the board of directors for the Evaro, Montana, Community Center needed funds to renovate the town’s one-room schoolhouse. Tom suggested a 5K and 10K race to raise the money.

    “The group was casting about for ideas,” recollects Bob, who was then serving on the board. “We decided to hold the race and call it the Evaro Mountain Challenge, although there isn’t any Evaro Mountain. The directors thought we all had better enter it because we might not have many comers. We figured we could walk if we couldn’t run.”

    Continued in our July/August issue…

    Volume 10 | Number 5 | September/October 2006




    No, not the kind of journalism that journalists used to practice: the Who, What, When, and Where kind of objective reporting of an event.

    In the strange, twisted linguistics of today where a word like “scrapbooking” is constructed from a noun, what we’re talking about is referred to as “journaling,” as in keeping a journal or writing in a journal. Not the kind of journaling that you see people doing on laptop computers while laying a six-hour siege to a seat in a coffee shop.

    Just the facts. The facts of your running. With appropriate commentary.

    I bring this subject up because so few runners today are making use of a daily journal of their running, yet a journal can be as valuable to a runner’s fitness, health, and progress as the correct pair of running shoes.

    The subject of journal keeping as it pertains to your running comes up every time runners want to discuss either how they earned their latest injury or what they need to do to re-create the terrific performance they had in their last good marathon.

    “All you need to do is consult your running journal,” I naively say.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Guest Editorial

    Are Runners an Endangered Species?

    Raymond D. Fowler, Ph.D.

    The 2006 Hong Kong Marathon, which was held on Sunday, February 12, attracted over 40,000 enthusiastic participants, a remarkable number for the relatively small population. After days of weather that was cool and pleasant if somewhat overcast, Sunday morning was marred by thick gray clouds of polluted air that made it difficult to see even the massive high-rise office and apartment buildings for which the Hong Kong area is famous.

    The start of the marathon was delayed for 15 minutes, but a decision was made to go ahead with the race. After the race, that decision was questioned by many in Hong Kong.

    The pollution created problems for many runners. About one in 10 runners—4,000—required medical treatment, and at least 22 required hospitalization. Tsang Kam-yin, an experienced 53-year-old runner who had run two previous marathons, died shortly after he collapsed at the 13K marker. Chu Man-chung, a 33-year-old runner said to have been in good health, collapsed near the finish line, and his breathing stopped. He was resuscitated before being taken to the hospital, but two days later he was wheezing and short of breath. He had not fully regained consciousness, and his breathing was labored. There are fears that the oxygen deprivation he suffered when his breathing stopped might have resulted in permanent brain damage.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    On the Road with Joe Henderson

    On the Road Again

    Once upon a time I ran marathons regularly, twice most years, sometimes more often. Then suddenly I stopped trying them at all.

    While I never used the r word (retired), this looked more likely with each passing year. Those had stretched to six when 2006 began.

    It’s no coincidence that I found other roles to fill a void left by not going this distance myself. In those marathonless years, I did more talking to, coaching of, and writing for marathoners than ever before. I attended Jeff Galloway’s and Dick Beardsley’s camps with marathoners, formed a Marathon Team to train runners, and signed on as a columnist for Marathon & Beyond magazine.

    My first column in M&B rationalized what a lapsed marathoner might offer to active ones. I wrote in 2004 that we who stand by in supporting roles also serve and that we who once ran marathons never really retire.

    The less distance I ran, the more support I was free to give. Yet I never stopped wanting to be an active marathoner, at least one more time.

    I didn’t want my latest marathon, where little went as it could and should, to remain forever my last. I needed to run at least one more, no matter how long it took me to get to it and through it.

    My next starting line was a long time coming. Finishing took … well, we’ll get to that toward the end of this diary of a six-year marathon.

    Continued in our September/October issue…

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon (And What I Learned From It)

    Tito Morales

    SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, December 5, 2004—I started feeling it between miles two and three.

    It was a problem with my anterior tibialis. At least that’s what my physical therapist, Chris, informed me when I first hobbled into her office just as I was turning the corner into a well-earned taper. The tibialis is a muscle that runs along the inside part of the calf, adjacent to the shinbone, and I had been cautiously nursing it for the past two weeks.

    But here I was, minutes into the California International Marathon, and it was hurting again. Every time I planted and pushed off with my left foot, it felt as if some mean-spirited Lilliputian were jabbing the area just above my ankle with a penknife. Jab. Jab. Jab.

    I had traveled up to Sacramento from Southern California to take part in the race. And here I hadn’t even really broken into a proper sweat yet.

    And here I knew, from having gingerly run on my calf in the days leading up to race day, that the injury wasn’t one of those things that simply disappears once the legs find their rhythm. The devilish little fellow continues to jab. And then jab some more.

    OK, I told myself. You’re out here. You’re hurting. What do we do next?

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    San Antonio Marathon
    Remember to Turn Your Head to Catch the Alamo.

    The tone for the November 13, 2005, running of the San Antonio Marathon–Marathon of the Americas® was set on Friday evening when we left our hotel to walk downtown. Dusk had just rolled in, and the leafless trees on both sides of the street were festooned with shiny black grackles—thousands of them. It was like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds, creating a din, creating a mess on the sidewalks, and creating a negative image of lovely San Antonio.

    The birds weren’t literally dangerous, although we heard stories that their droppings could cause illness. They were just ever present and annoying, their high-pitched calls drowning even the rush of traffic on the nearby interstate highway. All weekend the black birds were a presence. To escape them, you must duck inside a building or take refuge on the River Walk. Local folks say the city has tried everything to be rid of them, but nothing has worked. “You could make a fortune if you came up with a plan to get rid of them,” one local said.

    When they were spooked, the grackles would take wing en masse and circle like a black cloud—sort of like the marathon, circling, and circling, and circling.

    To put it simply, the San Antonio Marathon has tremendous potential, but the 2005 edition was fraught with problems. Some came from construction projects within the city that prevented the organizers from creating an easy and logical course highlighting some of the city’s tourist attractions. Others stemmed from the multirace’s size: if it were smaller, there are numerous paved pathways through greenbelts that vein the city that could be incorporated into a breathtaking (and shaded) course. But with the large number of runners (roughly 3,000 total) and hosting three simultaneous events (marathon, half-marathon, and 5K), the logistics were difficult.

    But the challenges for the 2005 race began long before race weekend. The organizers had originally scheduled the race for November 7 but subsequently learned that the start/finish area and the expo venue (the convention center) were not both available on that weekend. So the race was moved to November 13, but the change was not as widely and effectively broadcast as the race committee had hoped.

    Then there were issues with the proposed course when construction at the convention center was announced. (HemisFair Park was also closed for construction.) The committee sprinted from one headache to the next.

    Check out this gem of a marathon in Maine in our September/October issue.


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question:

    Lower Leg Problem

    I am extremely desperate. As I am incarcerated, my access to adequate, concerned
    medical attention is nil, and I’m hoping my situation won’t preclude
    you from responding to my request.

    I’m 51 years old, have been running 11 years, and have gone through my
    share of injuries. But I’ve never experienced anything as painful and persistent
    as this. I run 35 to 55 miles a week, mostly every day, over the same dirt
    (badly rutted) trail.

    The problem is in my lower legs (mostly the left), but the same locations
    in all the muscles (everywhere from my anterior shins around through all the
    calf muscles), but predominantly in the calves. In my left leg, the worst pain is
    in a posterior muscle that runs from the upper shin into the Achilles. I’ve read
    enough that I don’t believe it’s compartment syndrome, as the pain is also
    severe in the tendons—behind the knee and about four to six inches above
    the heel in the Achilles. At its worst, it hurts just to stand, but mostly through
    some stretches and walking, it can be eased enough to run.

    I’ve done everything from ice to heat to elevating them (which I often have
    to do so I can get some sleep) to running less miles and even complete rest.
    Since the second week of March, I’ve taken three breaks of from seven to 14
    days off. At one point, the pain was completely gone, so I started back easy
    with two- to five-mile runs with walk breaks, only to have the pain return
    within a few weeks. When the pain isn’t too severe, once I get through the
    first quarter mile to half mile, it seems to relax and I can run. Although helpful,
    naproxen hasn’t done anything but ease the pain.

    One other thing of note is that I have hypothyroidism. I just recently
    heard—don’t know if there’s any fact to this—that one rare aspect of an inactive
    thyroid is severe tendinitis, if the T4 count is off. Can you substantiate
    this, and could this be what’s causing my problem?

    Our experts answer this question in our September/October issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Marshall Ulrich, Guy Avery, Sal Citarella, Jeff Horowitz, and Rich Limacher.

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    Transformation of an Adventure Runner

    One Runner’s Journey From the Farm to Mount Everest, Through Joyful and Scary Places in His Heart and Soul.

    Marshall Ulrich

    It felt like 120-volt shocks probing my legs with every step. I couldn’t do it. I had to stop.

    I was at the top of Towne’s Pass in Death Valley National Park. I had already run 352 miles across the 125-degree desert floor and had summited Mount Whitney once. But I still had 232 miles and another summit of Mount Whitney to go. People surrounded me, giving me advice. But I was in a fog. I was in my own world, with memories of past races floating through the haze. I couldn’t do it. I had to stop this madness.

    It was July 2001. I was attempting to complete the Badwater Quad—running 146 miles across Death Valley from Badwater, California, elevation 282 feet below sea level, to the 14,494-foot summit of Mount Whitney, then returning to Badwater, and then doing it all again for a total of four crossings and 584 miles with a total elevation change of 96,000 feet. I was over half done, but I was suffering from severe tendinitis in both shins.

    I could not do it. I had to quit.

    But at that moment, something happened. And it was rooted far in my past.

    Read all of Transformation of an Adventure Runner

    Training and Racing Within Your Personal “Marathon Zone”

    Successful Marathoning Begins With a Realistic Goal That Will Put You “in Your Zone.” Part 1 of 3.

    Guy Avery

    This is the first part of a three-part series on successful marathoning. Part 1 deals with laying the basic groundwork for successful marathoning. Part 2 will look at some of the key building blocks of balanced marathon training and how to integrate them for success. Part 3 will focus on the finer details of successful training and racing, an optimal postmarathon recovery cycle, and how you can ensure continuous performance progress no matter your age or ability.

    All runners can improve their current marathon performances and times—regardless of age or ability—and have fun doing it. Unfortunately, all too often, runners train for long periods for marathons only to experience frustrating results. This does not have to be the case, especially when all it takes is a little knowledge and some wise coaching guidance about some basic principles of successful marathoning.

    I have successfully coached hundreds of runners using these basic principles. Runners who understand and follow them have a very high probability of reaching realistic short-term goals and sustaining continuous long-term improvements in their marathon performances.

    Training can be stimulating, manageable, and fun, while still producing gradual and sustainable progress.

    One of the keys to marathon success is balance. In fact, sustainable marathon improvement is all about balancing the key areas of training, nutrition, and rest with an optimal mental approach in the context of your life. The first step is to find your own ideal marathon training and racing zone for any given marathon training period.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Murphy’s Story

    It’s Hard to Find a Better Running Partner Than One Who Lets You Run Within Yourself.

    Del Acker

    I wasn’t actually looking for a running partner, at least not in the beginning. My wife and I had made several trips to our local animal shelter: a new, clean, well-run facility that makes you want to come back to visit the dogs and cats. If you love animals, some shelters are just easier to avoid out of sympathy for the animals and their living conditions.

    It had been over a year since we had to put down our Airedale mix at the age of 13. While she liked to go for shorter runs in her younger days, you wouldn’t call her a running partner. She had been a great pet, well behaved with our growing children, including our developmentally handicapped daughter, Lauren, who took great pleasure in grabbing any available canine appendage. Because of our success with orphaned pets from the animal shelter, we were convinced of the merits of again acquiring our next pet dog from the same source.

    On previous visits, we had been befriended by a 3-year-old male Lab mix named Murphy. We thought it best to bring Lauren along for a get-acquainted session with the possible pooch. Many dogs, particularly adult ones, don’t appreciate being grabbed at by anyone, especially teenage strangers. Lauren never got the chance. One look at Lauren, even through the gate, set Murphy into a barking rage. Forget Murphy.

    As luck would have it—or fate, as I’ve come to accept—a litter of four pups had just become available for adoption this day of our most recent visit. While we had spoken of adopting an adult dog—everyone knows they are less likely to be adopted—we were quickly won over by the inevitable charm of puppies: cuteness, playfulness, and energy. We rationalized to ourselves that here is an unspoiled pet, without the possible bad habits engrained in a mature dog adoptee. Besides, we figured a puppy could become accustomed to Lauren, and vice versa, during its growing years.

    Article continued in September/October issue

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    Running With the Road to Ruin Runners Club

    Getting to the Starting Line Is the True Story.

    Michael Lebowitz

    “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”
    —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    These days I run. I lost that for a long while, but now I run long and I train for marathons. Sometimes it’s a specific event, and sometimes it’s just that falsely casual, vaguely pretentious, “Oh yeah, I run marathons” thing. Many days I put on a Road to Ruin Runners Club (RRRC) hat and maybe an RRRC T-shirt over the CoolMax microfiber and head out the door.

    I ran the Napa Valley Marathon in 2005. I didn’t do very well. I hadn’t trained well enough because of a relentless flu and a fractious attitude. Despite the fog rising out of the darkened valley, shadowy arms and legs moving jerkily in anticipation at the start, and eventually the slow fire sunrise over the eastern ridgeline, I dropped out at 16 miles, hallucinatory, overheated, dehydrated, and mad as hell. Back at the hotel, I was reminded by a runner-writer friend of mine that the hardest part of a marathon may be getting to the start line. It has been that way for me.

    He pointed out that I had 10 minutes to wallow in the failure as I saw it; then I had to pick another race, train for it, and run it. He thought Avenue of the Giants, in the redwood forests of northern California, eight weeks away, would put things right. I have come through the complexity and destruction that is drug addiction. The simplicity of having a plan—one that is built on getting out of bed, putting on running gear, and going out for a run—is a great blessing.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Running Down Memory Lane

    A Revisit to the Marine Corps Marathon After 18 Years.

    Jeff Horowizt

    It was inevitable. Just as the evening follows the day and spring follows winter, I knew that the years would pass and the new would become old. I knew that, but not really, not in a way that would prevent me from being shocked when the anniversary dates came around, when I was forced to admit how many years had gone by.

    I am, of course, talking about my marathon. It was young when I was young, and if it had now gotten old, well, you can see where that put me. Some races, like the Boston Marathon, were old even when we were all newborn, but other races were products of our generation, creations of the baby boom. Many of them faded away, never having gotten a good foothold in the running community, but some hung on and grew strong: the New York City Marathon, the London Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and my race, the Marine Corps Marathon. They had all thrived and become so well established that we could hardly imagine a time when they weren’t with us.

    All that was fine. But then someone counted up the years—someone had to, I suppose—and the anniversary celebrations began. Then one day, I looked at the application for the Marine Corps Marathon, and I saw that it was going to be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2005. A 30th anniversary was inevitable, but so soon? Where had all the years gone?

    As I’ve said, the Marine Corps Marathon was my race. Not that I’d conceived it, organized it, or even (and I’m a little embarrassed to admit this) that I ever helped out as a volunteer. It was my race simply because it was my first. Just as a first kiss lives forever in your memory, a first marathon occupies a special, almost mythic place in a runner’s personal history.

    Article continues in our September/October issue.

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    Marine Vets at the MCM

    Wounded Marines Back From the War Seek New Challenges by Way of the Marathon.

    Marc Witkes

    It’s a long way from the battlefields of Fallujah, Iraq, to the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, D.C., but many Marines and soldiers have taken that route.

    More than 2,541 soldiers have lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Department of Defense statistics indicate that over 10,200 soldiers have been wounded. Some have received bullet wounds and some have had limbs amputated, but all are learning new ways to live very different lives from the ones they had before they left American soil.

    Alexander Sargent, 23, was wounded in Iraq in November 2003 during a house-to-house search. While Sargent and his fellow Marines approached what they thought was an empty home, 10 Libyans opened fire, killing Lance Corporals Phillip West and Joseph Welke and Corporal Brad Arms. Sargent survived the firefight, but he suffered several bullet wounds in his arm and leg that grazed the bones.

    Sargent was evacuated from Iraq to Germany and then to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He eventually received treatment at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Confined to a wheelchair for two months and not able to walk for six months, Sargent took part in extensive physical therapy.

    Marine Captain Paola Hayes, a hospital commander at Balboa Naval Hospital, was interested in bringing a group of injured Marines with her to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. While recruiting Marines for the trip to Washington, Sargent took the goal to heart and decided to begin training.

    “You have to transcend self-pity, and you can’t let it get to you,” Sargent said at the prerace expo. “I need to live life to the fullest, and it doesn’t do very much to honor the loss of loved ones if I give up on the things that I am trying to accomplish.”

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Tony, Here’s Why

    When It’s All Said and Done, Was It Worth All Those Miles?

    Sal Citarella

    Recently, my son sent me an e-mail. He was bummed out; his running was going poorly, his new job demanded too much of his time, and he was concerned that he might be slighting his young family. “Why run?” he asked. It just added to the pressures of life, and the running was unsatisfactory anyway. “Why did I continue running?” he asked me.

    I knew the story well; I’ve asked it of myself, time after time, and I responded with my typical insensitivity. “Who said life was fair?” I also quoted one of Dr. George Sheehan’s favorites, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” In hindsight, these two glib remarks probably contradict each other. My point, at the time, was that running wasn’t always fun. Then why run? Why indeed? I rediscovered the answer, again, just a few days later.

    Hey, Kid, you know I’ve always run. I was running before you were born, and I’ve never stopped. As I write this, I’m 62, having started running in high school at 16. Maybe that’s why I’m small and lean (like you, on prunes), walk funny, and can’t bend down very well. Of course lots of guys my age are in this condition, but few of them ran so hard to get there, and even fewer still run.

    We live in a great place for running: mild weather, hills that are either open grazing land or wooded, and natural beauty that others lust for. While I chose to retire here, I won’t speak poorly of any of the many other locations where we’ve lived. I’ve almost never met a place where I couldn’t run; sometimes it just takes a little imagination.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Terry’s NYCM Totally Rockin’ Race Report!

    Overall, Running the New York City Marathon Was One of the Most Exhilarating Moments (Who Knew Moments Could Be Hours Long?) of My Short Life.

    Terry Moore

    So without any further Freddy Adu …


    I was a huge slacker this past summer. I loved the really hot days, since it was an excuse not to go running and instead to hang out playing drums in my air-conditioned house. My summer lifeguarding job was a blast, as always, and getting tan was much more important than getting in shape. I think the longest run I did over the summer was around 11 miles … totally weak, I know.

    Then September rolled around, and I moved from Philly to New York for my sophomore year of college. I decided that I’d better “Git ’er done” if I was going to qualify for Boston. Thus, the early-morning training began, and I was up at 6:00 running, swimming, or lifting. The worst part of this training was not being able to go out with friends and indulge in a beer or six as much as I would’ve liked. After a while, I got into the rhythm (I am a drummer) and started cranking out 20-milers every week. I peaked around 23 when the eight days of rain in the Northeast cut short my planned insane 30-miler because I couldn’t run anywhere without running in a 3-inch puddle. I was in the best shape of my life because:

    1. I wasn’t drinking,

    B. Running is good for you, and

    III. I wasn’t drinking.

    My roommate would scoff when I did push-ups and sit-ups, as she would chow down half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. My mental resolve to not eat Taco Bell still amazes me.

    Finish this story in the September/October issue.

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    What Monkey?
    Redemption at the Rio Del Lago 100-Mile Endurance Run.
    by Chris O’Connor

    “You’ll be back.”

    “No I won’t. There’s no point to it. It’s a godless course, and you can’t run it. I don’t see the point. I want to run 100 miles, not climb them!”

    “Nah, you’ve got to lose that weight.”

    “I just lost 6 pounds in 16 hours! What weight?”

    “The weight you’re carrying around now with that monkey on your back. It’s going to start gnawing at you soon, and you’ll be back. You’ve got unfinished business.”

    # # #

    Unbeknownst to me, the guy at Massanutten was right. I covered 65 miles when I had set out to do 100, and I had left something undone, a thread hanging from my sweater, a race shirt I couldn’t wear, a monkey on my back. I left Virginia in May with the primate in tow. How I got through airport security is anyone’s guess, but I flew back, monkey and all. Monkey got the window seat, stole my peanuts when I went to the bathroom, and pretended to be asleep when I returned to discover he had crapped all over my seat. Got back to California and went to the doctor to see about my sprained wrist, iliotibial band syndrome, and sprained ankle. She sent me to physical therapy for those, advised me to try something called cross-training, but told me there was nothing she could do about the monkey. “You mean you can see him too?” I asked.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    The New Las Vegas Marathon

    Place It on The Strip, and They Will Come.

    Peter Weinstock

    Arnie Brier and I were considering which fall 2005 marathon to run. Late November or early December was appealing because I train in Dallas, Texas. Arnie trains in the much milder Santa Barbara, California. A later fall marathon would enable me to avoid running 20-mile training runs in August heat. Little did I know when we were selecting a marathon that the temperatures in Dallas would remain in the upper 90s throughout most of October. Dallas is the poster city for global warming.

    Our marathon selection came down to Sacramento or Las Vegas. In about as long as needed to read a list of the cities hosting marathons at that time of year, we selected Las Vegas. I am sure Sacramento’s nightlife is exceptional, but, hey, Vegas is Vegas.

    A week later, Arnie and I had invited guests to help us during the marathon weekend. Arnie’s support crew included a group of friends with whom he had an annual Vegas trip until he married. They were trying to recapture their testosterone-fueled youth. One of them is a Detroit bail bondsman; another is a stockbroker who wishes he were in the adult-film business; the third is a California Republican politico; the fourth, David, who was also running the marathon, is a top-notch criminal defense lawyer in Detroit; and the last one owns a truck- and bus-washing business. My guest list was a little different: my 74-year-old mother. Lest anyone think that I am a total nerd, I did not even think of inviting my 91-year-old mother-in-law.

    There was some logic at work. First, my kids were studying for finals during the first week of December. My wife had to stay home to ensure that our son did not turn his normal study break into 15 minutes of studying for every hour of Xbox and to keep our daughter from her vice—HGTV. Second, my mom can party.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Far and Loafing in Lost Wages

    Or How to Run the New (and Improved!) Las Vegas Marathon on Mostly Legal Drugs.

    Rich Limacher

    We were somewhere strung out on the “Fremont Street Experience” when the Celebrex finally kicked in. I remember saying to some dude running next to me, “Can you dig what I’m seein’ up there, man? Some chromium-numbskull, nickel-plated Republican obviously took tax dollars to erect a roof up there. A friggin’ roof hangin’ over a public city street….”

    And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us, the sounding of a big city’s worst nightmare, the screeching and blaring of 10,000 brakes and horns all going off at once. We were about six miles into some brand-new marathon, and this humongous malaise of four-wheeled, gas-guzzling, CO2-vomiting, 80-mile-an-hour traffic was stopped dead in its tracks. And people were pissed. Under that roof, it sounded like 10 trillion people were pissed—the noise was that deafening. And some idiot on the sidewalk was screaming: “Holy Jesus! It’s Mick Jogger!”

    Then it got quiet again. My “disguise” only works in brief glimpses. It didn’t ever take very long for the vast teeming throngs to realize that the lead singer of the Rolling Stones was not in fact running their marathon. Besides that, it was just before 7:00 A.M. on a December 4 Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anyone who’s ever been there will tell you that, no, there’s generally not a whole lot of street traffic off The Strip on a Sunday at 7 in the morning.

    Although there certainly had been some action going on The Strip—how ’bout on the lot of the “Run Through Chapel” near mile five—if you can actually imagine around five couples getting up that early in Vegas to get married. That sort of whacked-out activity is generally reserved for 2 o’clock in the morning following a delivery of the single best pickup line a showgirl ever heard. But here today it was happening presumably after a short night’s sleep. And no matter the abbreviated tuxes and bridal gowns, the inamorata were all wearing the same sort of shoes. Not only that, but the whole freaking spectacle was taking place live on the street. I just had to pause and take a picture … my attorney would never believe this.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

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    Eulogy for a Runner

    Don’t Cry for Me When I Go, Because I Go Down Happy.

    Kenneth Williams

    “We are gathered here today to honor the memory of …” These words will be spoken, inevitably, over each of us. This despite the fact that most of us think that we, personally, are exempt. Runners—that independent, compulsive lot—are especially prone to this line of thinking. We are lulled to sleep by the vigorous exercise schedule to which we adhere, too tired to contemplate tomorrow, much less our final rest. We block such thoughts, blank them out, push them away, and think we are invincible. After all, we push and punish our bodies almost every day, stressing our muscles, bones, and our hearts to the limit. Our bodies are tough and well loved. How could they desert us? How could we die? If on a bad day a runner’s mind should drift to thoughts of his mortality, he would visualize going out like Johnny Kelley, the Boston marathoner … finish his last road race at 90, pick up his age-group trophy, get his affairs in order, lace on a pair of New Balance (purchased at half price), and shuffle off into eternity with eyes locked firmly on that final finish line.

    Unfortunately, that ain’t the way it works. Runners do die and even occasionally die suddenly. Proper diet, regular exercise, and no smoking notwithstanding, runners fall over dead just like all other creatures. And occasionally, heaven forbid, runners actually die while running or, worse yet, while participating in a race! Oh, that makes for huge news, a super media event, creating public controversy about exercise. Is running bad for you? Will it kill you? How many running-related deaths per 10,000 runners were there in the United States last year? Should we pass laws limiting the number of miles citizens may run? Should all runners be required to carry defibrillators so a passerby could resuscitate? Cast your vote at our Web site.

    Locally, when a runner dies prematurely, whether in the act of running or not, the hand-wringing starts in full force: “I knew all along running was bad for you!” “He exercised too much, and his heart got so big it just blowed up.” “All that runnin’ and what did it get for him but an early grave.” Likely, these comments come from the same folks who say, with a knowing look, “I’m gonna start running when I see a runner with a smile on his face. Har, har.” They miss the point.

    So, as I was saying, runners die just like everyone else. This bothers me. Not the dying, but the hand-wringing, the unsolicited comments, and the casting of blame.

    Continued in our September/October issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan on Running

    by Dr. George Sheehan

    Part 5: The Role of the Podiatrist in the Overall Health of the Runner Cannot Be Overstressed.

    Volume 10 | Number 6 | November/December 2006




    Whenever and wherever we run and race, we do so alone, no matter whether we’re on a run with friends or surrounded by 30,000 strangers at a big-city marathon event.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    On the Road with Joe Henderson

    This I Believe

    National Public Radio doesn’t go with me on my runs. That’s when I still resist listening to anything but live sounds. But NPR’s morning news is the last voice I hear before running and the first afterward.

    At those times, I often hear a segment in the ongoing series titled “This I Believe.” Hearing these five-minute highly personal essays, I think: I could write a book on that subject.

    Then I remember: already did that. It was titled Long Run Solution, was serialized in Marathon & Beyond in 2002 and 2003, and now appears in full on my Web site (address at the end of this column).

    That book was an extended version of what I believed while writing the book 30 years ago. The timing is right for an updated and condensed version.

    This column is my last for “On the Road.” It was never intended to be any writer’s permanent home. The scheduled stay here for past columnists had been a year, and I’ve more than doubled it.

    Next issue I’ll happily yield to Don Kardong, and then move to a new and more compact column titled “Joe’s Journal,” at the back of the magazine. Before vacating this space, I’m moved to do some summing up.

    So here, in 100 words or less, is everything I believe about running—a hundred per topic, that is, while totaling a couple of dozen of those. This I believe…

    Continued in our November/December issue… and also online.

    My Most Unforgettable Marathon (And What I Learned From It)

    by Bruce Marshall

    ALBANY, NEW YORK, October 19, 2003—Or, “What are you doing the third Monday in April?”

    If at first you don’t succeed…

    Twenty-one years; 6,300 runs; 41,331.1 miles; 170 races including 34 marathons, and throughout, I became obsessed with just one goal—the Holy Grail of running—a Boston Marathon qualifier. I don’t have the natural ability of many friends that I have met and run with over the years, but I think I can safely say that nobody tried harder or wanted a BQ more.

    Over the years, I came tantalizingly close many times. Back when I needed a 3:20, when I was in my early 40s, I managed four creditable marathons between 3:24 and 3:29 and numerous others between 3:30 and 3:35, but that elusive 3:20 always seemed to be just outside my reach.

    In fact, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I realize now that I virtually qualified in my PR marathon in 1989. I had trained exceptionally well that year, and after seven years of progressive improvement, I ran almost all my career PRs that year at distances from 5K to 20K leading up to the Montreal Marathon. Alas, the week before Montreal was the infamous Hurricane Hugo, and by marathon weekend, the winds were gusting up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States and into Canada.

    Because the course ran back and forth east to west, half the time I was fighting a strong head wind. I told my wife that I needed to get to the 40-kilometer intersection at 3:09 to have a reasonable chance of coming in under 3:20. I fought hard, running crazy splits for 10K and the half-marathon, but it just wasn’t enough. I got to the do-or-die mark at 3:11, admitted defeat, as I believed that the best I could achieve was going to be 3:22, and then calmly had a doughnut and a Pepsi before jogging in the rest of the course. I finished in 3:24:28 clock time.

    Yes, there was no ChampionChip timing then (I certainly lost a couple of minutes at the start of that 12,000-plus participant race), and I was unaware of the Boston 0:59 rule, which meant that I could have qualified with 3:20:59. Could I have marshaled my energies and determination and made it if I had known? We’ll never know, but the simple fact remains that I was like thousands of others around the world who had once again tried and failed to earn that badge of honor—a Boston qualifier.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Pacific Shoreline Marathon

    If the Beach Boys were ever to run a marathon, they would do it here.

    What’s not to like about a marathon that runs along the world-famous Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), in sight of the Pacific Ocean and its famed surfing beaches, with a start wreathed in light fog, led out by a covey of restored woodies, and serenaded by surfer-dude bands manned by … well … real authentic, antique, now-geriatric geezers who can really knock out a Dick Dale-style surf-rock riff?

    Add to that the fact that the Super Bowl Sunday 2006 event was the 10th annual running of the Pacific Shoreline Marathon, and to celebrate the occasion, entrants were given a long-sleeve technical shirt, a bodacious finisher’s medal—and a Sony Walkman MP3 player. Egad!

    Runners who could prove in advance that they had run all nine previous Pacific Shoreline Marathons were presented with a special diamond-studded finisher’s medal.

    The only thing the Pacific Shoreline Marathon is lacking is a slightly disoriented Brian Wilson wandering out onto the road in his bathrobe asking, “Hey! What’s up, dude?”

    The race Web site is user friendly and filled with precise information.

    But for the moment, forget all the frills. The backbone of every marathon is the course. In a nutshell, the Pacific Shoreline course is mostly flat, in that most of it runs along the ocean beach, except for the critical section around the 20-mile mark (where the fabled Wall lurks; think a more modest version of Boston’s Heartbreak Hill), which goes inland and rises roughly 100 feet as it circles its way through a park area before returning to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and more sea-level running.

    We should mention that the marathon field is limited to 1,000 entrants. There is a companion half-marathon, which for 2006 was limited to 6,000 runners, and there is also a 5K. For the 2007 edition, the half-marathon will be limited to 7,500.

    There were some complaints by the marathoners at the 2006 race that they were overwhelmed by the big half-marathon field. At the 2006 edition, both marathoners and half-marathoners were started at the same time, the marathoners on one side of the PCH and the half-marathoners on the other. For 2007, the race organizers have solved that problem: the marathoners will begin at 7:00 A.M. and the half-marathoners a half hour later. (That may also help the faster marathoners get to the beer before the half-marathoners drink all of it.) One thing many of the runners at the Pacific Shoreline Marathon told us is that the race organizers are very responsive to feedback from the participants. The separate starts are a good example.

    Check out this pearl of a marathon along the California coast in our November/December issue.


    Lively responses to our most recent issues.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions. This month’s question:

    Postrace Massage?

    There is conflicting information regarding massage. The P. F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Marathon did not have postrace massage, and the race packet had the following statement: “Medical studies have found postevent massage within the first two hours after running/walking an endurance event to be harmful; it does not prevent postevent muscle soreness. Research has shown that at least two hours after you finish the race is the most effective time for postevent massage. While our finish line medical team will have massage therapists incorporated within the team to assist in relieving cramps and to assist in first aid measures, they will not be giving postevent massages.” The two other marathons I have run (Lakefront and Grandma’s) had massages offered by “professionally licensed therapists” immediately after the race. My question is: should I get a massage after a race or not?

    Our experts answer this question in our November/December issue.

    About the Authors

    Among this issue’s stellar cast of authors are Tim Martin, Guy Avery, Tito Morales, Dr. Karl Lennartz, and John J. Kelley.

    I want this issue delivered right to my house.


    Frankie and Vonnie and Running

    A Bit of a Memoir of Life in 1944.

    John J. Kelley

    Our daring memoirist, Johnny “The Younger” Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon, has shared many of his most famous races with our readers over the years. But until now, he has never told us how he became a runner as a kid. Johnny has been carefully reconstructing his young life, and we’re pleased to give readers a preview of The Younger’s early adventures.

    At the beginning of the summer before I’m to start high school, I discover two loves. One is 11-year-old Veronica Reichenstahl. The other is running.

    Veronica has moved into the house on Ledyard Street, directly behind ours, which the Farber sisters, Priscilla and Helen, have moved out of. “Vonnie” is the younger sister of Frankie Reichenstahl, who’s a month older than I. The Reichenstahl kids live with their father.

    He works across the river at the Electric Boat Company in Groton, building submarines, like practically all my friends’ fathers. I guess he was married, but nobody in the neighborhood knows whether his wife died or went away or what.

    All I know is I’m hopelessly in love with Veronica. Both kids have those Aryan blond features: clear blue eyes and wavy hair the color of cornsilk, though Vonnie’s hangs gracefully in the style of the movie star Veronica Lake, just grazing her perfect cheek, past a lovely little beauty-mark mole on the side of her mouth, as it falls below her collarbone. Frankie’s is cut pretty short, giving him a kind of scary, piercing look, like those Gestapo villains you see in the movies.

    Yet Frankie is friendly in a cool way. He seems to me like a coiled spring, like somebody who knows he possesses special talents the world hasn’t realized exist in him.

    A big problem for the Reichenstahls is their German name and appearance. They’re not in their house two weeks before some of the neighborhood old-timers get to calling them Huns and Krauts. One morning I look out my back window and see Mr. Reichenstahl hurriedly painting over a swastika that somebody painted on during the night.

    Things as stupid as that only intensify my unbearable passion for Vonnie. I imagine myself secreting her away from the stupid swastika painters. I hide her in our cellar where I’ve built a room full of comforts that nobody else knows about. After the war, we’re almost grown up, so we can come out and live happily ever after.

    Only, in reality, I can’t even bring myself to speak to Vonnie. I pass her house as often as possible, finding any flimsy excuse to do so. Incredibly, if she happens to be sitting on her front porch, I look away toward the house across the street.

    I feel so damned old. Vonnie is 11, and I’m 13, for God’s sake! I yearn to discover her birthday, to see if, just possibly, she might turn 12 before I turn 14 in December.

    But there’s one thing I can do to impress her, and it’s a physical thing, like the knights-errant of old. I can run! And by unforeseen good luck, our neighborhood organizer, Flood Martin, though he’s only 15 himself, has come up with an idea for a great sports team, which he is calling the Skull Squad.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    The Nazi Olympics

    A Korean Forced to Run Under a Japanese Name Dominated the 1936 Olympic Marathon.

    T. R. Healy

    Adolf Hitler, as a young man, was a runner. He did not run on cinder tracks or across lush green meadows but through the lethal fields of fire on the western front during the First World War. A volunteer in the Bavarian Regiment, he was assigned to staff headquarters as a dispatch runner whose mission was to deliver messages to battalion and company commanders at the front. It was very perilous work under fire, so if feasible, two runners were sent out with the same dispatch to guarantee its delivery should one of them be killed.

    Hitler performed well as a runner, displaying sufficient bravery and courage that less than a month after he began delivering messages he was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class. It was, he claimed, “the happiest day of my life.”

    Hitler believed that physical training was an important element in the education of German youth and thought the strength and agility they developed were critical in reviving the prowess of the defeated fatherland. Personally, though, he was not interested in sports, which were alien to his sedentary and reclusive nature. Indeed, before he was appointed chancellor in 1933, he dismissed the Olympics as “a play inspired by Judaism which cannot possibly be put on in a Reich ruled by National Socialists.”

    The 1916 Olympic Games were scheduled to be held in Berlin but were canceled because of the outbreak of hostilities in Europe. Following the conflict, many prominent Germans urged the International Olympic Committee to renew the offer and, finally, prior to the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, the committee selected Berlin as the host of the 1936 Games. The people of Germany were elated, certain this offer of a second chance signified a genuine reconciliation with the other nations of the world. It was an opportunity they could not afford to squander, and yet with the rise of Hitler to the chancellorship, they became concerned that once again politics might interfere with their plans and prevent the Games from taking place on German soil.

    Once he was in charge of the government, Hitler modified his position considerably and agreed to support the efforts of the German Olympic Committee to put on the festival in Berlin. He changed his mind because he believed the Games would increase interest in physical activity among German young people, but he still was not enthusiastic about the event.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    The Phantom Hero

    Kitei Son, aka Sohn Kee-chung, the Displaced Hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Marathon, Was a Pioneer.

    Dr. Karl Lennartz

    Editor’s note: On November 15, 2002, the 1936 gold medal winner in the marathon at the Berlin Olympics died at the age of 90 in Korea. Kitei Son won the marathon wearing the uniform of Japan—and sporting a Japanese name. He was not, however, Japanese. He was a Korean named Sohn Kee-chung [sometimes listed as Kee Chung Sohn]. In the wake of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan made Korea its protectorate and annexed it in 1910. Koreans who wanted independence were brutally treated by the Japanese, but a government-in-exile formed in 1919 and led by Syngman Rhee kept the spirit of independence alive. Sohn had set a world record of 2:26:42 in 1935. His fellow Korean Nam Sung-yong was also forced to run for Japan using the name Shoryu Nan; Nam Sung-yong placed third at Berlin. Dr. Karl Lennartz, one of the world’s foremost students of the marathon, put together the following overview of Sohn Kee-chung and his impact on the world of marathoning.

    In the early 1930s, the world’s top marathon runners had already achieved times under 2:35:00. While performances stagnated in the United States, Great Britain, and above all in Europe, a big boost in performance was recorded in Japan. During the championships in Tokyo on November 3, 1933, Kozo Kusunoki finished in 2:31:10, thus improving the Japanese national record and setting the second-best time of the year in the world. Other Japanese participants in that race were also fast enough to make the top 10 list that year:

    	2.	Kozo Kusunoki, 2:31:10
    	3.	Shoryu Nan, 2:32:33
    	4.	Tamao Shiaku, 2:32:44
    	8.	Tanji Yahagi, 2:37:11

    Heading the world list at the time was Leslie Pawson of the United States with a 2:31:01. In the following year, this improvement among Japanese marathoners continued.

    November 18, 1934, Tokyo:

    	4.	Yasuo Ikenaka, 2:34:30

    November 23, 1934, in Osaka:

    	3.	Tamao Shiaku, 2:32:56
    	5.	Shigenobu Arai, 2:35:14
    	6.	Shinichi Nakamura, 2:35:19
    	9.	Kozo Kusunoki, 2:36:07

    The top-ranked runners in the world in 1934 were Patrick Dengis of the United States in 2:31:30 and David Komonen of Canada with a 2:32:58.

    The world definitely took notice on March 21, 1935, when Kitei Son ran 2:26:14 in Tokyo. The time was so outstanding that there were questions regarding the length of the course. It was assumed the course was short. Kitei Son (known as Sohn Kee-chung in his native Korea) had run some outstanding times previously on courses a bit shorter than the marathon distance. In his first “marathon” in Seoul on October 10, 1933, he had run 2:29:34, and on April 22, 1934, he had run 2:24:51, followed by a 2:32:19 on October 8.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Chairman MAO’s Unbelievable, Unsurpassable, and Entirely Enviable Marathon Streak

    The Only Thing That Slows Him Down Is His Own Aging.

    Tim Martin

    Long ago, back when I was training for my first marathon, a veteran runner took me under his wing. I listened to his every command because he was smart, a wizard of splits and finish times. And I watched his every move because he was tough. He had competed in hundreds of marathons and ultras and had completed more than 1,000 training runs of 20 miles or longer. He was, in fact, the reigning big dog of distance running in Northern California. That man’s name is George Crandell.

    Unless you’re a member of Six Rivers Running Club (SRRC), it’s unlikely that you’ve ever heard of him. Crandell is not the kind of runner who likes to toot his own horn or burn oxygen bragging about himself. He is, however, an intensely competitive athlete. The mere mention of a track workout causes a frown of concentration to press between his eyes. Talk of an upcoming race sends him rushing for the door, eager to log a few more miles before the competition.

    During his 40-plus years as a runner, Crandell has taken quiet joy in chewing up young and old alike. And at age 73, he shows no sign of slowing down. George still logs 45 miles a week, rain or shine, and runs long on the weekends.

    Better known as Chairman MAO (marathon and over), Crandell is a retired California State University oceanography professor who lives in the liberal, vegetarian, whale-bothering, tree-hugging town of Arcata, California.

    But he’s no laid-back hippie. Far from it. George would rather be stoned to death with hacky sacks than waste a day lazing about with the dreadlocks and patchouli crowd. The man likes to keep moving, for he knows that those who do not move forward must slide inexorably backward.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Scott Jurek

    Uncovering New Fronteirs.

    Tito Morales

    Scott Jurek is not all that different from you and me. Honest.

    Sure, his feats of endurance, which include an impressive 2004 grand slam of four of the most grueling 100-milers in North America and a streak of seven consecutive Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run titles seem other worldly. Yes, his record of 15:36:27 on the legendary Western States course may just take a dozen or so years for someone to match. And it goes without saying, of course, that his astonishing 2005 double, in which he prevailed at both Western States and the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in the span of just 16 days, was anything but ordinary.

    But Jurek himself would be the first to insist that he is far from being some kind of running Hercules.

    “I’m not as much of a natural athlete as I am somebody who just puts a lot of effort and soul into training,” he says.

    For the soft-spoken Jurek, his illustrious journey through the world of long-distance running has been not so much about trophies, belt buckles, records, or superhuman efforts as about testing personal limits—and not anyone else’s, just his own.

    “It’s more than just seeing if you can get from point A to point B,” Jurek says of his life’s pursuit. “It’s more about self-discovery.”

    Conduct an informal survey at the start line of any marathon or ultramarathon, and you will likely hear the same type of explanation as to why the majority of the competitors have chosen to undertake the challenge ahead.

    In many ways, in fact, it’s this precise mind-set that has been fueling the current running boom. More and more people, it seems, are turning to endurance sports because they yearn to experience tangible personal growth. Long-distance running, unlike most aspects of modern-day life, draws precise lines of black and white.

    Either you do, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Jurek does—and has for a long, long time.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Matriarchs of the Ultra

    Sandra Kiddy and Sue Ellen Trapp Dominated Women’s Ultrarunning For Two Decades.

    Ed Mayhew

    Before Ann Trason and Pam Reed started giving the men a run for their money, the duo of Sandra Kiddy and Sue Ellen Trapp dominated women’s ultrarunning for much of the 1980s. Because both Kiddy and Trapp ran in their 40s and well into their 50s, and very competitively as you’ll see, they were still a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s.

    For example, while Trason was garnering six of USA Track & Field’s women’s ultrarunner-of-the-year awards in the 1990s, Trapp earned three—and she didn’t stop there, as she was still winning major races and setting records in 2001 and 2002. First, though, we’ll take a look at Sandra Kiddy’s ultrarunning career and how she became the first woman inducted into the Ultrarunning Hall of Fame.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Your Personal Marathon Zone: Training Guidelines and Building Blocks

    After Laying the Foundation for Your Personal Marathon Zone, You’re Ready to Use Our Training Building Blocks. Part 2 of 3.

    Guy Avery

    The first part of this three-part series focused on helping you get in your marathon-training and -racing zones by (1) determining an appropriate training commitment level, (2) establishing a realistic marathon goal and the associated goal pace (per mile), (3) selecting a target marathon that will give you the highest probability of achieving your goal, and (4) laying the groundwork for smarter training. These four steps will help you know that you will be training and racing within your own personal marathon zone with clear intention and confidence and a grounded sense of balance.

    If you carefully followed the first important steps outlined in part 1 of this series, you are well on your way to a successful marathon-training and marathon-racing experience. While it is not the scope of this article to provide generic training schedules, we will provide general training guidelines while outlining the key building blocks of optimal marathon training for each training level. You can use these training building blocks and guidelines to create your own unique training schedule that will best fit your specific needs, preferences, lifestyle commitments, and marathon goal.

    Although many runners think the key to faster marathon times is more hard speed workouts in training, it is important to remember that roughly 95 to 99 percent of the energy requirements of the marathon are provided aerobically, by using the body’s aerobic energy processes. The exact percentage of energy provided by aerobic processes depends largely on how long it will take you to run the marathon, the course elevation changes, how evenly you pace the race distance, and how close to the edge of your potential you run on race day.

    Regardless, the so-called speed workouts we suggest herein are ultimately aimed at enabling you to run faster while remaining aerobic. These high-quality workouts will combine to improve your aerobic efficiency and, ultimately, your marathon racing capability.

    Even top men (2:25 or faster—5:30 per mile or faster) and top women (2:45 or faster—6:20 per mile or faster) still run the marathon with 95 to 99 percent of their energy provided aerobically. The difference is that they have higher aerobic capacities and often can run at a higher percentage of their aerobic capacity. The goal for a runner of any ability is to run at the fastest possible speed for the duration of the marathon, which is by its very nature a highly aerobic task. Therefore, any goal-oriented marathon runners who want to improve their performance must be as aerobically efficient at their marathon goal pace as possible. From a long-term standpoint, efficiency and comfort can be increased at any aerobic running speed. In fact, a formerly anaerobic running speed can become aerobic over time.

    So, how do you achieve aerobic efficiency at a faster pace for the entire marathon distance? The answer is complex, as numerous factors create aerobic efficiency at increasingly faster running speeds. The primary goals of training are to increase your maximal aerobic capacity without getting injured and to learn to run at a higher percentage of that particular aerobic capability without getting set back by injury or burnout. Obviously, each runner has training limitations because of many factors, so based on your chosen training level, we will prioritize the training elements—or building blocks—necessary to produce the best results, given those limitations.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Recalling Steve Jones

    Few Runners Dominated a Decade to the Extent That This Welshman Did.

    Mark Dreyer

    In northern Colorado, on the outskirts of Boulder, you will find an unassuming man of rare talent. He is a quiet man, whose slight build and medium height wouldn’t give you any clues as to his past, nor would his goatee beard. You would most likely find him painting, but you would rarely see him running. His soft Welsh accent may give you a hint though.

    This man is Steve Jones, winner of the New York, Chicago, and London marathons and a former world record holder in the sport. These days he spends much of his time holding a paintbrush. “Not on canvas,” he hastens to add with a smile. “It’s mostly the insides and outsides of houses. That’s when I’m not going around the country attending marathon expos and races.”

    Jones has been affiliated with Reebok ever since he took up running more than 20 years ago and represents the company from coast to coast, typically appearing in the vast marathon expo halls where competitors can browse the latest running gear, sample new hydration drinks, or decide which of the many featured marathons around the world they plan to run next. Jones turns up at the clothing manufacturer’s stall for an hour or so during each day of the expo, signs some posters showing him in his glory days, poses for photos with runners, and offers encouragement for the upcoming races. He seems fairly nonchalant at all the attention he receives, happy to chat with all who approach him, but it’s clear from the reaction of the crowd gathered around his booth watching archive footage of his many highlights that Jones is still recognized as one of the elite in his sport.

    And that should come as no surprise. In the fall of 1984, he burst onto the scene in such an extraordinary manner that his legacy was assured for years to come.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Stalking Pam Reed

    Sometimes a Little Obsession Goes a Really Long Way.

    Carilyn Johnson

    I have to confess: I am a stalker. My chosen subject: Pam Reed, ultrarunner extraordinaire.

    My interest in Pam started innocently enough. I had stumbled upon Ultramarathon Man, the book by Dean Karnazes, and had become intrigued by this odd sport of ultrarunning. At the time, marathoning seemed extreme enough for me, a stay-at-home mother of twins. I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to run farther than 26.2 miles—or for that matter, why anyone would want to. But Dean’s book showed me that the marathon was just the warm-up for an entirely different breed of runner. As it turned out, there were whole groups of people that got together, paid entry fees, and raced for 50, 60, 100 miles and more at a time. For fun! Dean’s book made it seem (almost) normal. I needed to know more.

    A quick computer search yielded a font of information. This sport wasn’t so underground after all. After Googling Dean, I saw that he was engaged (possibly without his knowledge) in an intense rivalry with a 44-year-old housewife and mother of five from Tucson, Arizona, named Pam Reed. With the click of a mouse, I switched from Googling Dean to Googling Pam, discovering that she was amazingly accomplished. According to her Web site, Pam was the two-time reigning champ of the Badwater 135, the first person to run 300 miles nonstop without sleep, the American women’s record holder in the 24-hour run with 138.94 miles, and had completed more than 100 races exceeding the marathon distance! She had been on 60 Minutes, Letterman, Tony Danza, and CNN—all for her running!

    Energized by Pam’s success and fame, I added up all the similarities between Pam and me. She was a mom, a housewife, loved to run, had no coach, lived in the desert Southwest, was over 35, and was not a great (that is, fast) marathoner. But what I found most intriguing was what we didn’t have in common: she was a champion ultrarunner, and I was a four-hour marathoner. She was something I wanted to be. That’s when I decided it was fate. I was destined to meet Pam Reed.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Research in the Marathon and Ultramarathon in 2005

    Elizabeth A. Loughren and Michael L. Sachs, Temple University

    Marathon & Beyond readers may be interested in research articles published in the past year (2005) on the marathon and ultramarathon. There were 634 references found using the key words “marathon and ultramarathon” in a SPORTDISCUS database search of 2005 publications. Many articles dealt with swimming and cycling; however, 273 dealt with running. Almost all of these 273 articles, though, were in Marathon & Beyond or other related magazines/journals, such as UltraRunning (www.ultrarunning.com), or in publications such as Running Times and Runner’s World. Unfortunately, only 11 articles were of a more academic nature (see below), but these still may be of interest to Marathon & Beyond readers. Perhaps 2006 will be a better year for research on the marathon and ultramarathon. This feature will continue to be a regular annual service of M&B to its readers.

    Continued in our November/December issue.

    Special Book Bonus

    Dr. Sheehan on Running

    Part 6: Ignore The Fad Diets, And As You Age, Increase Your Activity.

    Dr. George Sheehan

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